Twenty years from now up to 80 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas.
And the ramifications of this startling statistic are what financial investors from all over the world have been debating at the World Investment Conference at La Baule in North West France. Investing in cities is a priority which can bring benefits as London is finding with the Olympics in 2012. Tessa Jowell, UK Minister for the Olympics said: “ What is very clear is that within London the development of the Olympic Park is creating jobs, keeping people in work and bringing investment to a part of London that is very deprived and poor.” Paris like every capital has been badly hit by the economic crisis but is in a better position because of reputation as a centre for art and culture. henri Loyrete, The Director of the Louvre Museum had this to say. “ For every euro given by the State we give ten back to the State. That is to say when investing in arts you have to look at it in a different light, that is what is very interesting. “ Keeping an eye on the bigger picture and what draws people to a city it may go beyong arts and culture. Food too can play an important part according to one of Portugal’s greatest chefs Helio Lourieo. He said: We the Portuguese have a way with receiving visitors and helping them with big projects and big adventures. It is very important to make visitors feel at home. Great food that’s a present we can give them.” What is clear from the La Baule forum Europe has to respond to the global challenge to develop the attractiveness of its cities and make sure they remain the hot sports for business, culture and creativity.