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Brussels one of best cities in the world for Generation Z

16:04 04/09/2019
The capital is attracting 20-somethings for its digital connectivity, LGBT equality and the right to protest

Brussels is one of the 20 best cities in the world when it comes to offering opportunities to Generation Z. Gen Z is typified by having grown up with digital technology and social media.

Brussels ranks 19 in 110 cities surveyed by online housing platform Following a similar study on millennials, the company wanted to determine which cities Gen Z-ers should consider moving to in the coming years.

Gen Z was defined based on Pew Research Center research as people born between 1997 and 2012 in specific social, political and technological circumstances. “Born into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a post-9/11 world, the climate crisis and a global recession,” states Nestpick, “Gen Z-ers are known to be digital natives who value security, diversity and autonomy and aim to achieve it through pragmatism and determination.”

Nestpick, based in Rotterdam, used 22 indicators to whittle its full list down to 110 cities. Indicators include gender equality, educational opportunities, right to protest and the prevalence of the AI industry.

Lousy digital bankers

“Taking a values-centric approach to this study, we looked into which cities around the world best understand, advocate, and embody the principles Gen Z-ers prioritise,” says Nestpick CEO Ömer Kücükdere.

A 100-point scale rates the cities, with Brussels earning 77.7 points to come in at 19. The capital did extremely well in the categories of government digitalisation, digital connectivity, LGBT equality and the right to protest (you probably noticed that last one).

Brussels did less well in ‘digitised social habits’, a measure of the amount of mobile social media use and digital services used to manage daily life and information. This includes digital banking, another category in which Brussels could apparently stand to improve.

Happily, its lowest score – a rock-bottom 5.5 – was in Esports, or sport video game competitions. In fact, no city outside of Seoul and Los Angeles performed particularly well there.

Antwerp, too

Antwerp, meanwhile, ranked 56 of the 110 cities, with a near perfect score in right to protest as well as very high scores in access to health care and connectivity. Dragging it down were poor scores in education and digitalised social habits as well as those darn Esports (2.6).

“To continue attracting talented, young individuals, public officials need to take legitimate action to address their concerns, or risk losing them,” says Kücükdere. “This study calls upon legislators and private entities to meet their demands and create a more secure, sustainable and progressive framework moving forward.” And Esports, lots of Esports.

Might you be wondering what made the top of the list? London. Let’s not hold our breath waiting for all the Gen Z-ers to move there in the near future for the fabulous Esports events, but rather take a look at the rest of the top five: Stockholm, Los Angeles, Toronto and New York.

Photo: Golubovy/GETTY

Written by Lisa Bradshaw