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fDi: American Cities of the Future 2011/12

In its annual ranking of the leading American cities for the future, fDi magazine highlights the major, large, small, and micro cities in the United States, Canada, and Latin America that are performing exceptionally well based on factors such as cost effectiveness, business friendliness, and FDI strategy. Area Development researched the economic attributes of the locales fDi selected. Here are the top large, small, and micro cities across all of fDi's categories.

FDI Magazine (4/12/2011)

Top Overall City: New York (1/17)


New York led several rankings for the major cities category - city of future, economic potential, infrastructure, and human resources - and earned the top overall distinction. fDi attributes the metro's success to the high number of foreign projects it has attracted over the past 10 years. It has one of the largest international business communities in the world: half of its work force is foreign-born, and 18 of the top 20 foreign branches of international banks have headquarters there.

Next: Top Latin American City

Top Latin American City: Santiago, Chile (2/17)


Eighty-four FDI projects have come to Santiago since 2003, according to the fDi Markets database tracking cross-border greenfield investments. Nearly a fifth of the projects entailed capital investments in excess of $100 million. The city actively attracts entrepreneurs from around the world. Start-Up Chile, which is based in Santiago, is sponsored by the federal government and offers $40,000 and a one-year Chilean visa to participants to develop their businesses.

Next: Top Large City of the Future

Top Large City of the Future: Pittsburgh (3/17)


President Barack Obama calls Pittsburgh a "model for turning the page to a 21st-century economy." The city jumped from ninth place on fDi's list last year to first. It is shaking off its Rust Belt image to attract cutting-edge industry clusters, businesses, and investments. Key industries now include high-tech and IT, robotics, and advanced manufacturing. Multiplying incubators and resources from institutions such as the University of Pittsburgh propel the business community forward.

Next: Top Large City FDI Strategy

Top Large City FDI Strategy: Victoria, British Columbia (4/17)


While fDi rewarded Victoria for its attraction of foreign businesses, the city is continuing to forge ahead. It will unveil an updated economic development strategy in June. The plan will emphasize the strengthening of the current economy, identifying opportunities in the green and sustainable sectors, and diversify the local economy. New businesses, whether foreign or Canadian, benefit from a range of local to federal programs.

Next: Top Large City Business Friendliness

Top Large City Business Friendliness: Orlando (5/17)


Situated in central Florida, Orlando has emerged as a tech and innovation hub. More than 42,000 people are employed in tech sectors that range from aviation to modeling and simulation. The work force is also desirable, with two-thirds of the population under 44 years old and one-third with a college degree.

Next: Top Large City Cost Effectiveness

Top Large City Cost Effectiveness: Asuncion, Paraguay (6/17)


The rate of economic expansion in Asuncion is upwards of 14.5 percent. Both local and foreign investments are increasing. The industrial sector is trending upwards, and agriculture and livestock, an important economic facet of the metro, are performing well. The cost of doing business remains relatively low.

Next: Top Large City Economic Potential

Top Large City Economic Potential: Seattle (7/17)


Known for the presence of corporations such as Microsoft and Boeing, Seattle's potential derives from its championing of well-established and emerging businesses. It focuses on building cutting-edge cleantech, tech, interactive media, life sciences, and aerospace sectors. And it's a leading choice for international business. Its port is the third largest container port in the United States, and it has strong overseas commercial relationships.

Next: Top Small City of Future

Top Small City of Future: Richmond, Virginia (8/17)


This Virginia city has a strong history of welcoming international businesses. Nearly 150 companies from 24 nations are located in the Richmond region. They span sectors from machinery to specialty foods. Its forward-thinking approach to business attracts these and domestic companies, and landed Richmond on fDi's ranking. Industries of the future include cleantech, R&D, advanced manufacturing, and life sciences.

Next: Top Small City FDI Strategy

Top Small City FDI Strategy: Huntsville, Alabama (9/17)


Huntsville may be small compared to some of the other cities on fDi's list, but it's attracting international attention. Its research parks and focus on cutting-edge technologies, as well as traditional industries such as aerospace, bringing in overseas business.

Next: Top Small City Business Friendliness

Top Small City Business Friendliness: Fort Lauderdale (10/17)


This beach vacation destination is heating up the business community, too. Its economic development slogan, "Life. Less Taxing," summarizes is business-friendly approach. Significant business assistance is available to companies both foreign and domestic, and approximately 45 international business headquarters are located there.

Next: Top Small City Cost Effectiveness

Top Small City Cost Effectiveness: Pilar, Argentina (11/17)


A province of Buenos Aires, Pilar is a dollar-smart place for international companies to do business. The area government has a dedicated entity to examine foreign business opportunities, both in seeking to solicit overseas investments as well as boosting its own exports.

Next: Top Small City Economic Potential

Top Small City Economic Potential: Sunnyvale, California (12/17)


While California has had its share of woes during the recession, fDi sees strong economic potential in Sunnyvale. Its largest employers include well-known and cutting-edge firms such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman Marine, and Yahoo! Major business centers include R&D facilities and a semiconductor plant.

Next: Top Micro City of Future

Top Micro City of Future: Greenville, South Carolina (13/17)


Greenville nabbed the top micro city of the future distinction with its targeting of advanced industries such as biosciences, R&D, and advanced materials. The work of local organizations is helping propel the city into the future. Clemson University sponsors an International Center for Automotive Research; NEXT supports a burgeoning entrepreneur population; and Greenville Works combines the assets of local, state, and federal organizations to support business.

Next: Top Micro City Business Friendliness

Top Micro City Business Friendliness: Waterloo, Ontario (14/17)


Although classified as a micro city, Waterloo is acutely aware of building world-class business clusters. The Canadian metro maintains its traditional industries while promoting business-friendly policies for now and the future. It's especially known as a center for tech. Its strong universities, entrepreneurial outlets, and private businesses (notably BlackBerry creator Research In Motion) make it a vibrant economic center.

Next: Top Micro City Cost Effectiveness

Top Micro City Cost Effectiveness: Alajuela, Costa Rica (15/17)


This Costa Rican city is a good choice for businesses that want a small metro location and low costs. While once isolated, it now has an improved transportation network and a thriving traditional agricultural economy that supplies a significant portion of the nation's produce.

Next: Top Micro City Economic Potential

Top Micro City Economic Potential: Waterloo, Ontario (16/17)


Although classified as a micro city, Waterloo is acutely aware of building its business clusters. The Canadian metro maintains its traditional industries while promoting business-friendly policies for now and the future. It's especially known as a center for tech. Its strong universities, entrepreneurial outlets, and private businesses (notably BlackBerry creator Research In Motion) make it a vibrant economic center.

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