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Singapore Excels as an Inclusive City: Cushman & Wakefield’s Inclusive Cities Barometer for Asia Pacific

Nandhini Rad • 19/06/2024

Report quantifies the social impact of 35 cities in the region, outlining their various stages of progress and identifying actions that can boost their urban inclusivity status

Singapore excels as an inclusive city according to Cushman & Wakefield’s inaugural report: The Inclusive Cities Barometer for Asia Pacific. The report looks at the performance of 35 cities in the region across four inclusivity dimensions – economic, social, spatial, and environmental. It aims to foster a data-driven dialogue on the influence of real estate activities on urban inclusion and the social fabric of cities.

SG Never Settles Chart

Source: Inclusive Cities Barometer

Key Findings

Economic inclusiveness

Recognised as a key financial hub in the region, Singapore attracts top talent and through its robust investments in technology, has built a leading position in innovation and R&D. With a strong labour force participation, low vulnerable employment, and almost universal financial inclusion, Singapore excels in economic inclusiveness.

Spatial Inclusiveness

The city also offers a safe and well-connected living environment, with an attractive urban landscape that contributes to its spatial inclusiveness. Singapore continues to drive itself forward by strengthening its inclusivity credentials through technology, sustainability, and liveability efforts. These include a US$2 billion green investment programme for net zero emissions and fostering community bonds through inclusive housing and green spaces.

“Singapore's remarkable performance as an inclusive city stems from a meticulously designed framework that optimises various socio-economic indicators. With a high GDP per capita, low vulnerable employment, accessible public transport, safe urban areas, and a thriving innovation ecosystem, the city-state ensures opportunities for all to prosper.” Natalie Craig, Chief Executive Officer Cushman & Wakefield, Singapore commented.

"Singapore's relentless pursuit of inclusivity is evident as it advances in technology, cementing its status as a smart city, and prioritises sustainability with a US$2bn green investment programme. By embracing innovation and sustainability, the city-state is not just moving forward but propelling itself towards a future where inclusivity thrives." Craig added.

The Real Estate Contribution to Inclusive Cities

As stewards of the built environment, real estate owners, developers, investors, occupiers and advisors play a critical role alongside governments in shaping urban spaces and influencing the lives of communities and citizens. The Inclusive Cities Barometer acts as a prompt for the commercial real estate industry to challenge the social status quo, offering guidelines on integrating and enhancing social value at every decision-making stage – from individual assets to city-wide portfolios.

Matthew Clifford, Head of Sustainability & ESG, Asia Pacific, Cushman & Wakefield noted that there is still a myriad of opportunities open to developers and investors to enhance social inclusivity across Asia Pacific’s urban landscape. “If we look at the core office employment hubs, developers can accommodate more nuanced and inclusive needs of, not only the end users of their office spaces but also the communities and people who live close to or walk past their buildings every day. For example, building green field developments that can preserve outdoor green space as a public park or develop placemaking and experience within the immediate vicinity of their buildings. From an investment perspective, developing the social and economic values of assets also influences total returns.”

Click here for the Inclusive Cities Barometer, with detailed insight into the grouping of the 35 cities across the four personas and their respective strengths and areas of improvement.

The Approach and Methodology

The 35 Asia Pacific cities in the report were selected based on their representation of approximately 80% of the region’s Grade A office space tracked by Cushman & Wakefield, covering most corporate occupier portfolio locations. These cities are grouped into four personas that reflect the maturity of their progression with social value creation and inclusivity.

City Persona  Definition 
Mature Urban Centres   Cities with a longstanding commitment to social inclusion that prioritise the needs of all citizens, focussing on equal distribution of wealth alongside strong but balanced economic growth
Social Drivers Cities demonstrating strong rates of social inclusion across many of the dimensions, although not as mature in their journey to reduce wealth and lifestyle inequality
Rapid Risers Cities previously constrained by historical limitations on equitable economic and social development that are now rapidly advancing social inclusion initiatives
Emergers Cities at the beginning of their journey to increase rates of inclusivity throughout but with strong ambitions

To develop the barometer, Cushman & Wakefield collected data from leading global third-party sources such as the World Bank and United Nations and leveraged insights and findings from both peer-reviewed scientific sources as well as internal experts. Four main dimensions and 11 subdimensions were identified:

Main Dimensions   Subdimensions
 Economic Inclusivity Economic vitality, growth and innovation
 Social Inclusivity

Population density and growth
Health and wellbeing
Tolerance and personal freedom
Social inclusivity

 Spatial Inclusivity Housing and property
Security, safety and social infrastructure
Accessibility and urban attractiveness
 Environmental Inclusivity Pollution, climate, resilience and adaptability

About Cushman & Wakefield
Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global commercial real estate services firm for property owners and occupiers with approximately 52,000 employees in nearly 400 offices and 60 countries. In 2023, the firm reported revenue of $9.5 billion across its core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, and valuation and other services. It also receives numerous industry and business accolades for its award-winning culture and commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), sustainability and more. For additional information, visit


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