What Makes a City Thrive | The B1M

Throughout the ages, cities have formed the
heart of our societies. Originally developing in highly fertile regions as centres of trade, the cities of today are home to more than half of our planet’s population and play a
more fundamental role in shaping our progress than ever before. Transcending the ages, our cities must continually flex, adapt and evolve if they are to remain the productive and thriving
centres that billions of us call home. From access to housing and transportation, to the availability of jobs and education, this is what it takes for a city to truly thrive in
our ever-changing world. For thousands of years it was geography that
dictated where cities developed. The earliest cities grew as defensive settlements along
trade routes, on sites that offered reliable access to water and fertile land. Babylon and Memphis, now a part of Cairo in Egypt, thrived thanks to the abundance of
fertile land around the Euphrates and Nile rivers. Being at the centre of the Mediterranean
allowed Rome to dominate the region through trade and military strength, while Paris took
advantage of its position on the Seine and its access to both the Atlantic and central
France to become the dominant city in the region. While our cities have long been centres
of regional influence, it was the Industrial Revolution that expanded the sphere of influence
a city could have. As technology began to develop millions began moving to urban areas
attracted by the opportunities these centres offered. To understand more, we spoke to Mark Versey and Lynn Smith of Aviva Investors, managers of large-scale real estate and infrastructure investment projects. Well, the Industrial Revolution was all about automation factories getting much more machines,
use of chemicals, and so what it meant is factories needed to be in places that had
good hubs of transport. The cities that thrived then were London, Amsterdam – that had that
access by boat which enabled the factories to be positioned right in those cities. The impact was quite extreme. Suddenly you had a huge influx of people and they needed to be accommodated, so suddenly a city had to grow, develop. So, there was a huge strain
on everything the city had. Hospitals were in higher demand, transport was in higher
demand, but fundamentally housing. And the other thing that helped is the
export market – by being in those locations you could export all around the world. So,
textiles was the big boom particularly in those markets. It became very difficult and the cities themselves had to change. Suddenly, planning became a
big thrust of what a city was, and they had to start planning out streets. Paris is a
really good example of that, where they developed the arrondissements and actually had a network
spanning out from the Arc de Triomphe in a sort of series of circles and concentric circles.
Suddenly, town planning became really, really crucial and if you didn’t actually plan your
city, your city didn’t work – it failed fundamentally. As industry took hold around the world, a
city’s ability to move materials and the many products they created, became key to their
success. Detroit and Pittsburgh in the United States
boomed during this period and throughout the 20th century. Access to railroads and the
Great Lakes allowed raw materials to flow into the city and products manufactured
by their automotive and steel industries could reach markets far beyond their home state. Cities have to continually adapt to the changing demand in the economy. What happened in Detroit is all the skilled labour actually moved out of Detroit. The increased automation of the
manufacturing process changed the whole way that automobiles were built. Cars started
getting imported and Detroit is now an area of huge unused buildings. But now things in cities are changing rapidly again. Today, instead of iron ore being the commodity you
need, it’s now talented people. With the connected world that we live in today, talented people
can live wherever they want. What cities need to do now is attract people who want to live there, to work there, to play there and to learn there. The talent that people have to
come up with new ideas, innovation, particularly in the fields of science, is what businesses
are looking for today. Automation, that’s happening in all the processes, means that
the lowly skilled workers can be replaced by machines. So, what you’re really looking
for now is that higher education talent. By adapting and reinventing themselves to
attract new industries, urban centres of all sizes can transform themselves into thriving centres of innovation and secure their success into the future. When San Francisco opened up to new industries, the city and wider Bay Area completely transformed. Today, it is recognised as one of the world’s leading technology hubs. Needing to diversify its economy in
response to a manufacturing crash in the 1990s, large parcels of former industrial land in
Melbourne were developed into mixed use precincts, leading to a boom in inner city residential
and commercial space, and giving the city a competitive edge over its rivals in attracting new and expanding industries. Dublin saw its outlook change when the government began offering tax credits and incentives to large corporations, allowing the likes of Google, Facebook, eBay and PayPal to establish their European headquarters in the Irish capital. If you can create a hub for an industry in a city then you’ll attract a lot of talent
that work in that industry, to come work there. In Cambridge right now we have created a hub
around the station which is becoming a big IT hub globally. We’ve got Microsoft there,
Apple there and lots of other businesses are increasingly coming to work in that area.
So it’s really becoming known for that IT expansion. Obviously, you’ve got a fantastic university there and that gives ability to attract that talent straight out
of university, retain it in the city. Cambridge is also great as a great cultural spot. So, people have great lives there, it’s cheaper to live there. Schools, hospitals, so it’s
kind of got everything. Staff retention is a huge cost to any business
and keeping them happy and investing in their welfare and their wellbeing leads to lower
staff turnover. So, you have to offer them job expansion,
creativity, so you have to continually evolve and expand. Thinking ahead and encourage people
to progress their career in one area. So the cities of the future are not necessarily the largest cities anymore. It really is about the infrastructure, the connectivity they
have, as well as that access to talented resource. That’s the most important feature now. It’s a really difficult question – how cities can keep themselves sustainable. We’ve got all kinds of examples of where that hasn’t happened. So, we need to look to the future.
What are the trends that are out there? I think as long as you’re where there’s good universities, the talent is flowing, you’ve got an opportunity to be successful. But if
you don’t keep attracting the right type of industries to come in then anything can happen,
and that’s the great example of Detroit obviously. Future proofing is obviously, I mean, it’s
key. But we need to look within our buildings as well as what’s happening in the wider infrastructure
in a city. London has reinvented itself many times over
the years, through the first industrial revolution, the second and now you’ve got a thriving city
in London which is a massive service industry for the entire world. So, London is probably
the best example of a global city that’s managed to reinvent itself through the ages. The main
asset London has is the access to talented resource, a huge diverse range of people who
live in London now, it attracts people from all over the world coming to work particularly
in the city, but also all of the service industries that are located and headquartered in London. Cities generate most of the tax revenue in every country. So, you have to have cities performing at their best. That’s where most of the people work. So, what you need to have
is successful industries which then produce the tax revenue to support the whole economy
and the whole country. So, the city is the vital organ of the entire country. The best bit about my job is actually when you see people coming in and you see people enjoying it. You look at something like Kings Cross, and you know, I’ve watched that development for 25 years and the first time I visited there it was very sterile, not a lot of people.
And now you go along, you’ve got kids playing in fountains, there is yoga going on on the
steps of the canal. It’s very vibrant and there’s people enjoying the public realm and
then you have the corporate occupiers mingling throughout, and the whole thing just works. And for me that’s what makes me get out of bed in the morning. The impact we can have on society is the most exciting thing. When we look at some of the
schemes we’ve invested in so, a £300 million development in Manchester; we’re changing
something iconic which is the Granada Studios where Coronation Street was filmed in the
UK, and we’re now making that a multi-use office, residential, leisure centre, which
is where people really want to live, work, play and learn all in one building and that
is a great example of a city of the future. The role cities play in our everyday lives
and the economic and cultural influence they now exert, means they are more important than
at any other time in human history. And as our world continues to evolve, only cities that harness the powers of talent, clusters and scale will thrive. To learn more about what makes a city thrive, download the Aviva Investors white paper at the link below. If you enjoyed this video and would like to
get more from the definitive video channel for construction, subscribe to The B1M.

100 Responses

  1. Big Man says:

    Can't get enough of this channel, thankyou so much for the videos B1M. Your videos inspire me to enter the construction industry

  2. Study Johansen says:


  3. Teacup Chinese says:

    Love your videos!

  4. thomasfholland says:

    3/4 million subscribers already and at the rate you’re growing it won’t take long until you reach a cool million! Keep up the great work you do for us.

  5. Stijn de Heus says:

    So interesting, it'll be nice to watch how cities develop themselves in the next few decades. Especially in terms of livability I think there is a lot of potential for cities to evolve.

  6. Tim Tim says:

    Please a video about Dallas

  7. /// M says:

    I wish you would show other cities other than NY or London, they are great but what about places like Berlin, Munich, LA and Chicago. Or even other UK cites like Glasgow, Edinburgh or Liverpool. I really enjoyed all the cities in this video you covered a lot. But full videos devoted to some more unique cities would be cool

  8. winwin's tears says:

    this channel is so informative. so good. love love

  9. EeV says:

    Amazing video once again ! <3

  10. Cities & Skyscrapers says:

    Good public transportation network is vitally important.

  11. Aeiroq says:

    Video idea: the failed cities of modern times

  12. Aeiroq says:

    It’s great to have such great content posted every video 👌🏻

  13. K- Subs says:

    I just love this channel so much i don't even know why

  14. Nerd0! says:

    Parthenon, my country, thanks

  15. Google Andrew Yang says:

    Thank you for this video now I understand why cities are so flexible to give tax breaks to major corporations they are trying to convince young talented people in!

  16. B O S S T ROY says:


  17. Skyscrapers & MegaProjects says:

    Gorgeous thumbnail!

  18. Sam Dekker says:

    Love this stuff!
    YouTube is now teaching more than I learnt at school about the things I actually care about

  19. Mirko Incerti Fornaciari says:

    These videos are proof of the quality and seriousness of this channel. I am also passionate about cities and urban planning, so this channel is the most interesting for me to find on YouTube. Keep going B1M!

  20. Hot Beef says:

    Would love to see a focus on how Manchester has changed in the last ten years or so.

  21. johnty fiveofive says:

    This is the best Sim City tutorial on youtube – thank you! ^^

  22. Mr. Hooty says:

    Things that make a city thrive: (1) lots of high paying jobs; (2) lots of bars.

  23. hasee .! says:

    Please make a small video on 5 major cities of India.

  24. HYUKLDER1 says:

    10:45  UN Agenda 21 is behind this driving out of populations from countryside and into densely populated areas.

  25. Chris Nicemanbham says:

    GEOGRAPHY LESSON STARTER EXTRAORDINAIRE!! Ta people of the B1M. Honestly, let’s write an online text book lol

  26. elusion2012 says:

    wow, which city is this at 3:24?
    Can someone tell?

  27. Kal Random says:

    You should do a vid on water supply, and sewage.
    Without those no city will survive.

  28. marsmotion says:

    london, expensive and salaries not competitive. the cost of living in these cities needs to come down or they will loose pop in the future.

  29. Sisensi says:

    Youtube need this kind of high-quality channels

  30. Noah says:

    I wish they would have taken 10 seconds to talk about Detroit's comeback, after using it as an unfortunate example, since they have reinvented themselves as well. It has very much turned into somewhat of a tech town now with the headquarters of Quicken Loans & Stock X, as well as offices for Google, Microsoft, IBM, etc. all being located in Downtown Detroit

  31. Taqi Yasir says:

    The thumbnail is beautiful, where can I get it?


    What makes a city thrive? Uhh simple. It’s people…

  33. fun on beach says:

    Hiiiii….. 🙋🙋🙋🙋

  34. fun on beach says:

    I love your channel

  35. Boi Boi says:

    How does B1M manage to make such well made videos? Are you anything else besides a YouTube channel?

  36. Zanzibar979 says:

    Answer = BETTER HUMANS = Go Solar + Go Vegan.

  37. Kadjay Mwamba says:

    Londons Smart heads invested years of their lifetime to develop a city and to attract people from other countries….All fun and games till they exit the EU 🙂

  38. James Evans says:

    Manchester shoutout! Maybe a video on the developments in Manchester and how it’s outstripping other regional and European cities!

  39. England says:

    best one of the year

  40. gimroth says:

    I'm still left wondering about the human impact (not the human talent resource) on a city's success. How do you keep a city with people from a huge variety of backgrounds part of a community, and what are some great examples in which construction has helped bring that about?

  41. De U says:

    I learn a lot whenever I watch the B1M channel. Talents are truly the lifeline of the most successful cites around the world

  42. Daclux Judah says:

    We the viewers of this channel really appreciate the great work you put in

  43. Christophe Muller says:

    Where is the link

  44. sam sam says:

    0.40 Paris La Défense 😍☺️✌️

  45. MVTTH3W says:

    Great video yet again.

    The remaining question is: are these projects economically viable? They are seemingly developed on the assumption that there will be or that there already is sufficient demand for such services and housing. However, this might not really be the case in G7 nations that is. How much of this is speculation?

  46. Martín Armendáriz says:

    Make a video about ecumenopolis, will Earth become in one giant city?

  47. M CZ says:

    Do a video about shenzhen please. Its a very interesting city

  48. Saadia Meer says:

    Another great video from one of my favorite channels.

  49. 1GUNRUNNER says:

    Can I guess? Liberal democrat policies? Look at Seattle!

  50. Hugo Desrosiers-Plaisance says:

    Superb material, as always.

  51. Kuroi says:

    10:31 I can see my apartment! 😀

  52. Michael Burgei says:

    Love this channel though i think you should also include african cities to become more rounded

  53. Andre Newcomb says:

    Always a feast of images and word.

  54. The B1M says:

    Aviva Investors’ FREE white paper is available here 👉 https://bit.ly/2RffzWI

  55. Building Blocks says:

    Aaaa Melbourne

  56. B Babbich says:

    FYI, Detroit currently experiencing a huge comeback.

  57. Francis says:

    So inspiring. I love cities more than anything.

  58. habarugaba gilbert says:

    I love B1M, it's my favorite chanel! You should do a Video on Kigali Rwanda, lots of construction and development happening, especially the Mass Design architects they are from Boston initially, but they do amazing work in the country using local materials and know-how to build beautiful sustainable buildings, check out the Butaro cancer Hospital you won't regret it I promise!

  59. Francis Gallegos says:

    Beautiful video!

  60. PK M says:

    You r good content creator…i luv this channel..How do i know my content is worth for earning in you tube…???where can i get you tube earning details??what content they r expecting???..ur channels r creating enough revenue for ur beautiful content or not???

  61. Big Daddy says:

    i cant tell if 1:21 is a drone shot or a model

  62. East Pavilion-er says:

    6:44 I am a student at University of Cambridge and a railway fan. The new development at the railway station is truly amazing.

  63. Christopher Bathgate says:

    The best video you have made so far, more of this!

  64. David Harrison says:

    Attracting people is good for your economy therefore countries should want immigration.

  65. Will Somerville says:

    Nyc is beautiful

  66. fjellyo32 says:

    Please do a video about cities that only exist because of one big company.

  67. seantrell Nichols says:

    Nothing is more deserving of the of praise then the vast deserts of northern and southern Africa. An environment that our ancestors had to content with. In order to survive in the desert you truly have to think, and this exposure had a tremendous impact on our specie's, all over the globe. Literally every civilization on Earth was founded after spending generations. This is why we should be humble because we didn't get here by being a "superior" species, but actually the contrary.

  68. logician32 gaming says:

    Andrew Yang will get USA to Thrive in this new world. Then it will trickle to other nations.

  69. Daniel Cooney says:

    Very cool

  70. Davidson Vincent says:

    Another great video as usual, highly professional.

  71. Pranav j Kumar says:

    Thank you

  72. Cory Tyler says:

    Love your crisp, consistent content, Fred. I show your vids to my kids to learn about architecture. 🔆

  73. Byron Travels SWISSvlogs says:

    what kind of job do the two interviewees have?? i would love to do that!

  74. Ihaveno Money says:

    Lets see if Melbourne can keep its stance among other cities and not choke on its success like New York or L.A had.

  75. mjncad says:

    There is more to Detroit's demise than just auto manufacturing jobs leaving for greener pastures.

  76. György Névery says:

    I think although things described here are absolutely spot on, but I can see a new movement emerging. People who are tired of downtown rush, high prices, constant noiz and all the buzz in the city. There was though one short second shown, what I believe will have the biggest effect. The hyperloop or some similar fast speed transportation. I believe the painted picture in this video about the current form of the cities is about to peak. It is still early times, but people begin to value free time, silence, nature. Not to say that want to give up on city life, but not interested to live in rush, noise and smog. Kind of suburban 2.0 just in much greater distances.

  77. romeo mamatho says:


  78. KootFloris says:

    I don't understand all the praise for this video. This is all investors talk and propaganda. They understand money, not the past, the wonder and the future of cities. The difference? The past is, what let cities live and what killed them. The past of Detroit is lack of scrupules, like investors(!) dominating what action goes where, rather than follow the needs of the people. Cities need Wonder, like the Gaudi factor. Is there something that speaks to the imagination? Like Gaudi or the Eiffel tower? The future of cities is tied to the future of the planet as a whole. The need for self sustainable cities with lots of nature is growing, having enough green and farming in the city to feed its population. That would be real future thinking. Sadly countries run by corporations don't care about its citizens enough in case of a global economic crash, like the 2020 crash (soon near you) And we don't need cities that are like concrete deserts to nature, because it kills our planetary eco-system. But these investors just see where money rolls for them. Like the 10:44 work, live, play, learn all in one ugly corporate building is cheap work slavery in the making, sold as hip. Same trick is used in California and it sours quickly. Avoid it! It kills the looks, spirit and wonder of cities. And the last words, just mean, not an ounce of understanding of global future crisis, just investment talk. Sorry guys. Our current ideas of cities are unsustainable for the planet and not what the future needs. And my creative talent will avoid your buildings. 😉

  79. Vee says:

    Interesting that New York City wasn't the main focus here. It's the quintessential city, not London.

  80. Sir Rayder says:

    How to make cities thrive: 1. Europeans only.

  81. Brad Holkesvig says:

    A city that thrives is a city that is designed for everyone rich or poor but if there are lots of homeless people in that city, it will surely die.

  82. Akebono Radio says:

    I freaking love this channel. Your videos are top quality, educational, and the highest profession. Keep up the great work!

  83. DMichael Kimbley says:

    I am fascinated by architecture, city development and such, just as much as the next subscriber. But, living in a city myself, just makes me want to move to the country far away from people lol. The problem is, more and more people means less and less country side…

  84. Zakaria Ali says:

    Very informative

  85. No2Guy says:

    Glad you took notice to my video recommendation!

  86. B.L Ward says:

    Though I do enjoy the building/construction side of this channel, reclaiming/repurposing industrial sites are my favorites, I really do appreciate when and how you touch on the interconnectivity of it in regards to (cultural) geography and urban development planning. The streets of Paris mentioned is an excellent example of that, as was one of your older vids about Singapore. With both, planners were/are looking ahead, on how to make the best use of spaces and places in regards to developing construction, which also helps that sector grow and adapt to the needed changes for the betterment of its citizens. Another entertaining and enlightening video, thanks for posting.

  87. AdamLook 7 says:

    Please make a video of architectures just recently won an awards internationally

  88. Garth Broke says:


  89. Luis M says:

    Outsourcing not automation killed detroit. Hence why people build cars in Mexico and Japan

  90. Conor Norris says:

    i wonder how virtual realty will affect this trend as it has the ability to make people experience a space different from one another based on its augmentation, also the potential for remote work could once again change what a city needs to stay competitive as the things people will look for in where they live will change

  91. Doctoro Esperanto says:

    Isn't Neo-Liberalism wonderful?

  92. Brick Life says:

    6:01 melbourne wher ei live

  93. darkhawk1979 says:

    More Melbourne love 🙂

  94. saltag says:

    Great video, but it's a little too eurocentric imo…

  95. Rob Abiera says:

    Sorry, no. Central planning and taxes are not what make cities thrive. Economic freedom. Economic freedom. Economic freedom.

  96. Adrees Mukhtar says:

    I was looking for something more technical. Like we need alley ways for trash, transportation, plazas/squares for congregation, etc. please do so in a future video.

  97. Spartan Boi says:

    The best cities are the ones run by good leaders

  98. ArgBrohs says:

    JUST LOVE THIS CHANNEL! great job!!!

  99. Hanif Idris says:

    The B1M keeps getting me addicted to it as a lover of construction, I think the B1M should be more than a YouTube channel but transform into an institute. The B1M is my guide 😍😍

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *