Two years ago many people believed that global communications and the Internet would lead to a break-up of financial centres into niche markets and e-exchanges. That has not happened. Macro financial services have gravitated even more towards large centres, such as the City of London.
But a prosperous e-City needs to be more than an excellent hub for digital communications. Just as companies have to understand their customers and provide ancillary services around their core products to survive, so now do whole cities. With buyers now king, cities, like good Web sites, have to be places where people choose to go.
A Worshipful Company of Information Technologists conference last week heard that the young generation of talented people is now in a position to dictate its own terms and accept its own compromises. They worry about transportation, education facilities for their children and health care. These are now the pre-conditions for a prosperous e-City, in addition to factors such as attractive tax and fiscal policies and technology. Munich, the south of France, and Stockholm, all hold strong lures. So the thousands of IT related City jobs, now depend on the Corporation of London and Ken Livingstone's administration to work together to provide strong infrastructure - fast.
This was first published in November 2000