The increasing economic power of cities worldwide is becoming an unstoppable trend, as growth in incomes and opportunities continue to attract more and more people to urban centres. Today, more than half of the world’s population is living in cities, and by 2025 around 60% of the global population will live in urban areas. The urban population in emerging regions is growing faster than in the rest of the world. Cities are also the engines of economic growth and centres of economic activity; the world’s 50 largest metropolitan areas produce around 25% of global GDP.
In order to cater for the expansion in urban populations, huge investment is required in new residential and commercial buildings as well as utilities and transport networks and other physical infrastructure.
Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) tracks large-scale construction projects in all sectors, and following a recent assessment of project pipelines in major cities worldwide, it has compiled a listing of 50 “Construction Mega Cities”, each having a pipeline of projects with an investment value above US$30 billion.
The combined value of the project pipelines in these Construction Mega Cities stands at US$4.8 trillion, and includes around 6,400 projects at various stages of development, from announced to execution. Of the 50 Construction Mega Cities, 30 are considered to be in emerging markets, which have a combined projects pipeline valued at US$2.9 trillion, while the 20 cities regarded as being in advanced economies account for the remaining US$1.9 trillion.
London tops the list of these Construction Mega Cities, with total project values close to US$426 billion, just ahead of Dubai in second place (US$367 billion) and Abu Dhabi in third (US$275 billion). However, the Asia-Pacific region dominates the list of Construction Mega Cities, accounting for 25 of the 50 cities, and having a combined projects pipeline valued at US$1.8 trillion.
There are three cities in Australia with a combined value of US$342 billion in mega projects that have been announced or at more advanced stages of development. A total of eight cities in ASEAN member states (including Singapore) have a combined projects pipeline of US$568 billion. There are seven cities in China in the top 50 Construction Mega Cities, and these have a combined projects pipeline of US$475 billion, ahead of India (four cities with a value of US$221 billion).
In addition to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in the top 50 Construction Mega Cities there are a further six cities located in the Middle East and Africa, and the combined projects pipeline value for the region stands at just under US$1.3 trillion. There are five cities in Europe with a combined projects pipeline valued at US$890 billion, a relatively low count that reflects the relatively depressed state of construction activity in the region.
North America has a total of 11 cities in the CIC Construction Mega Cities, of which nine are in the US and two in Canada, with a combined projects pipeline value of US$736 billion. There are just two in Latin America, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil, with a combined value of US$124 billion.
Some of the cities in the list have multi-billion dollar projects that have been announced or in a more advanced stage of development, but the average value of the mega-projects tracked by the CIC in the Construction Mega Cities is around US$745 million.