Why Openness Matters

"Openness is the capacity of a city to attract international populations and to enable them to contribute to the future success of the city"

The OPENCities Monitor will be of great use to cities seeking to monitor their own openness and compare themselves with other defined city types. Such a targeted analysis will give politicians the necessary information to improve their policies and will help cities become more economically successful. As well as data-sets presented easily online, the OPENCities Monitor offers practical examples and projects implemented in other cities and policy recommendations. Furthermore, member cities can benefit from the use of our OPENCities Kitemark, a new marketing tool to promote their city to international populations.

Every city is known for certain key attributes; these include population, human capital and business structure, cost of living, regulations, innovation capacity, level of social integration and depth of culture. These attributes impact on international business decisions which in turn define the economic performance of the city as a whole. This process takes the form of a mutually dependent cycle that renews itself over each business cycle.

Increasing Differentiation

BAK Basel's analysis found that the output of a city's economy (X)depends on the amount of labour (L), the amount of physical capital (K) and all other relevant factors (R), as can be seen in the following production function (where α, β, γ are parameters):
X=C* L*α K*β Rγ

Because developed city knowledge economies are relatively stable in terms of population (L) and physical infrastructure capacity (K), the most valuable resource today is human creativity i.e. people who are able to create new ideas and apply knowledge in an economically-exploitable way. Knowledge (as part of factor R) is thus the most decisive factor for a city's economic output over the next few decades. This can be summed up by the chart opposite, which indicates that openness and accessibility to people and business represents the most likely means of urban differentiation in the forthcoming period.

See Methodology for further details on elaboration of the OPENCities Monitor or download Technical Details for a briefing on process and content.


The OPENCities Monitor is conducted by BAKBASEL. BAK Basel Economics AG (BAKBASEL) is an independent Swiss research institute.