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What Makes a City World Class?

July 9, 2014

Marielle Segarra, WHYY


What makes a city world class? The Greater Philadelphia Economy League thinks it has that figured out.


The Economy League says a city needs a few things to be "world class": business growth; strong infrastructure; and education and talent development.  On Wednesday it released an index comparing Philadelphia to the 10 largest U.S. metro areas, including Houston, Miami, and New York.  Philly did...okay.


The Greater Philadelphia region had the slowest job growth of the cities over four years.



It also had the fewest entrepreneurs per 100,000 residents in 2013.



But the region's Amtrak ridership was up six-and-a-half percent over two years, ranking it just below the top city, Houston.


Economy League Executive Director Steve Wray said Philadelphia needs to be comparing itself to bigger cities. "Philadelphia is a large enough region that if we're not thinking about how we compete with the greatest regions in the world, we're probably missing something," Wray said. He suggested Philadelphia bolster its good reputation for health care and higher education while continuing to improve in the areas where it's lagging.


The index was funded by companies and educational institutions in Philadelphia. It defined the Philadelphia region as five counties in Pennsylvania, five in New Jersey, and one in Delaware.