Big Cities, Big Growth

Finding our niche

One of the key drivers of the Wellington 2040 project has been to consider trends that are likely to play out in the future. The aim has not been to predict the future but instead consider where the combination of trends is likely to create tensions or changes that could plausibly impact on the city.

The research identified six mega trends including:

Big cities, big growth: big cities dominate growth given their dense networks of knowledge and economic activity.

Key themes:

  • Major cities create major markets which are major attractors of growth.
  • Rise of Asia-Pacific mega region.
  • Auckland region likely to have disproportionate share of national growth.
  • Australia facing high economic and population growth on the back of extractive industries.

Underlying drivers:

  • Economic productivity and innovation increasingly concentrated in big cities/clusters of cities.
  • Large geographic clusters allow diverse, chance interactions (“spill-overs”) to occur between people, which is seen as especially important in a knowledge based economy.
  • The premium on face-to-face interaction in knowledge exchange suggests bigger cities with greater density have an economic advantage.
  • Self-reinforcing cycle where traditionally large populations will in turn attract more people, hence growth.

Some emerging futures: