Global city

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A global city (also called world city or sometimes alpha city or world center) is a city generally considered to be an important node in the global economic system. The concept comes from geography and urban studies and rests on the idea that globalization can be understood as largely created, facilitated, and enacted in strategic geographic locales according to a hierarchy of importance to the operation of the global system of finance and trade.

The most complex of these entities is the "global city", whereby the linkages binding a city have a direct and tangible effect on global affairs through socio-economic means.[1] The use of "global city", as opposed to "megacity", was popularized by sociologist Saskia Sassen in her 1991 work, The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo[2] though the term "world city" to describe cities that control a disproportionate amount of global business dates to at least the May 1886 description of Liverpool by The Illustrated London News.[3] Patrick Geddes also used the term "world city" later in 1915.[4] Cities can also fall from such categorization, as in the case of cities that have become less cosmopolitan and less internationally renowned in the current era.


Global city status is considered to be beneficial and desired, and because of this many groups have tried to classify and rank which cities are seen as world cities or non-world cities.[4] Although there is a consensus upon leading world cities,[5] the criteria upon which a classification is made can affect which other cities are included.[4] The criteria for identification tend either to be based on a yardstick value (e.g., if the producer-service sector is the largest sector then city X is a world city)[4] or on an imminent determination (if the producer-service sector of city X is greater than the combined producer-service sectors of N other cities then city X is a world city.)[4]

Economic characteristics

Cultural characteristics


GaWC study

The first attempt to define, categorize and rank global cities using relational data was made in 1998 by Jon Beaverstock, Richard G. Smith and Peter J. Taylor, who all worked at the time at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.[8] Together, Beaverstock, Smith and Taylor established the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. A roster of world cities was outlined in the GaWC Research Bulletin 5 and ranked cities based on their connectivity through four "advanced producer services": accountancy, advertising, banking/finance, and law.[5] The GaWC inventory identifies three levels of global cities and several sub-ranks.[9]

The 2004 rankings acknowledged several new indicators while continuing to rank city economics more heavily than political or cultural factors. The 2008 roster, similar to the 1998 version, is sorted into categories of "Alpha" world cities (with four sub-categories), "Beta" world cities (three sub-categories), "Gamma" world cities (three sub-categories) and additional cities with "High sufficiency" or "Sufficiency" presence. The following is a general guide to the rankings:[9]

A map showing the distribution of GaWC-ranked world cities (2010 data).
High suffi­cien­cy

Global Cities Index

In 2008, the American journal Foreign Policy, in conjunction with the Chicago-based consulting firm A.T. Kearney and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, published a ranking of global cities, based on consultation with Saskia Sassen, Witold Rybczynski, and others.[10] Foreign Policy noted that "the world’s biggest, most interconnected cities help set global agendas, weather transnational dangers, and serve as the hubs of global integration. They are the engines of growth for their countries and the gateways to the resources of their regions."[11] The ranking was updated in 2010 and 2012.

Rank 2012
1SteadyUnited States New York City6.35
2SteadyUnited Kingdom London5.79
3Increase 1France Paris5.48
4Decrease 1Japan Tokyo4.99
5SteadyHong Kong Hong Kong4.56
6Increase 1United States Los Angeles3.94
7Decrease 1United States Chicago3.66
8Increase 2South Korea Seoul3.41
9Increase 2Belgium Brussels3.33
10Increase 3United States Washington, D.C.3.22
11Decrease 3Singapore Singapore3.20
12Decrease 3Australia Sydney3.13
13Increase 5Austria Vienna3.11
14Increase 1China Beijing3.05
15Increase 4United States Boston2.94
16Decrease 2Canada Toronto2.92
17Decrease 5United States San Francisco2.89
18Decrease 1Spain Madrid2.80
19Increase 6Russia Moscow2.77
20Decrease 4Germany Berlin2.76
21SteadyChina Shanghai2.73
22SteadyArgentina Buenos Aires2.71
23Decrease 3Germany Frankfurt2.69
24Increase 2Spain Barcelona2.59
25Decrease 1Switzerland Zürich2.53
Rank 2012
26Increase 3Netherlands Amsterdam2.45
27Decrease 4Sweden Stockholm2.43
28SteadyItaly Rome2.36
29Decrease 2United Arab Emirates Dubai2.32
30Increase 1Canada Montreal2.32
31Increase 2Germany Munich2.31
32NAAustralia Melbourne2.25
33Increase 2Brazil São Paulo2.19
34Decrease 4Mexico Mexico City2.18
35Decrease 3Switzerland Geneva2.13
36Decrease 2United States Miami2.13
37Increase 4Turkey Istanbul2.10
38SteadyUnited States Houston2.08
39Increase 1United States Atlanta2.06
40Decrease 1Taiwan Taipei2.05
41Increase 1Italy Milan2.01
42Decrease 5Denmark Copenhagen1.99
43Decrease 7Thailand Bangkok1.93
44SteadyRepublic of Ireland Dublin1.82
45Increase 1India Mumbai1.79
46Increase 4Israel Tel Aviv1.69
47SteadyJapan Osaka1.57
48Decrease 3India New Delhi1.55
49Decrease 1Malaysia Kuala Lumpur1.49
50Decrease 7Egypt Cairo1.49
Rank 2012
51SteadyPhilippines Manila1.49
52SteadySouth Africa Johannesburg1.48
53Decrease 4Brazil Rio de Janeiro1.31
54Decrease 1Indonesia Jakarta1.30
55Decrease 1Colombia Bogota1.17
56SteadyKenya Nairobi0.98
57Decrease 2Venezuela Caracas0.89
58SteadyIndia Bangalore0.85
59SteadyNigeria Lagos0.84
60Decrease 3China Guangzhou0.82
61SteadyVietnam Ho Chi Minh City0.72
62Decrease 2Pakistan Karachi0.66
63Increase 1Bangladesh Dhaka0.65
64Decrease 1India Kolkata0.63
65Decrease 3China Shenzhen0.62
66Decrease 1China Chongqing0.25

Global Economic Power Index[12][13]

In 2012, the first Global Economic Power Index, a "survey of the surveys" written by Richard Florida, was published by The Atlantic (to be differentiated from a namesake list published by the Martin Prosperity Institute), with cities ranked according to criteria reflecting their presence on similar lists as published by other entities:

1United States New York City48
2United Kingdom London43
3Japan Tokyo37
4France Paris25
4Hong Kong Hong Kong25
6United States Chicago20
7Singapore Singapore15
8China Shanghai11
9United States Los Angeles10
10Switzerland Zürich9
11South Korea Seoul6
11United States Boston6
11China Beijing6
14United States Washington, D.C.5
15Japan Osaka4
16Belgium Brussels2
16Germany Rhine-Ruhr2
18Canada Toronto1
18China Shenzhen1

Global Power City Index[14]

The Institute for Urban Strategies at The Mori Memorial Foundation in Tokyo issued a comprehensive study of global cities in 2012. The ranking is based on six overall categories, "Economy", "Research & Development", "Cultural Interaction", "Livability", "Environment", and "Accessibility", with 70 individual indicators among them. This Japanese ranking also breaks down top ten world cities ranked in subjective categories such as "manager, researcher, artist, visitor and resident."

1United Kingdom London1452.5
2United States New York City1376.6
3France Paris1349.6
4Japan Tokyo1324.9
5Singapore Singapore1118.6
6South Korea Seoul1081.1
7Netherlands Amsterdam1068.3
8Germany Berlin1047.3
9Hong Kong Hong Kong1038.2
10Austria Vienna1016.7
11China Beijing978.3
12Germany Frankfurt966.7
13Spain Barcelona964.6
14China Shanghai964.5
15Australia Sydney962.8
16Sweden Stockholm961.2
17Japan Osaka942.1
18Switzerland Zürich937.9
19Belgium Brussels931.3
20Denmark Copenhagen929.7
21Canada Toronto925.6
22Spain Madrid908.6
23United States Los Angeles890.7
24Canada Vancouver890.1
25Turkey Istanbul875.4
26Switzerland Geneva867.8
27United States Boston858.4
28United States Chicago854.1
29Italy Milan850.5
30United States Washington, D.C.836.5
31United States San Francisco833.3
32Taiwan Taipei807.9
33Japan Fukuoka790.3
34Malaysia Kuala Lumpur788.1
35Thailand Bangkok781.4
36Mexico Mexico City781.0
37Russia Moscow760.2
38Brazil São Paulo667.7
39India Mumbai608.1
40Egypt Cairo601.0

The Wealth Report[15]

"The Wealth Report" (a global perspective on prime property and wealth) is made by the London based estate agent Knight Frank LLP together with the Citi Private Bank. The report includes a "Global City Survey", evaluating which cities are considered the most important to the world’s HNWIs (high-net-worth individuals, having over $25million of investable assets). For the Global City Survey, Citi Private Bank’s wealth advisors, and Knight Frank’s luxury property specialists were asked to name the cities that they felt were the most important to HNWIs, in regard to: "economic activity", "political power", "knowledge and influence" and "quality of life".

of life
& influence
1United States New York City1762
2United Kingdom London2581
3France Paris48114
4Japan Tokyo362313
5Hong Kong Hong Kong710266
6Singapore Singapore823223
7Australia Sydney171237
8United States Washington, D.C.1411923
9Canada Toronto1215415
10Switzerland Zürich1124122
11Germany Berlin104189
12Belgium Brussels2732521
13South Korea Seoul28112810
14United States Boston1925245
15China Beijing624027
16Canada Vancouver3819716
17United States Chicago13292014
18Austria Vienna2327138
19Netherlands Amsterdam16261419
20United States Los Angeles21301510
21Sweden Stockholm2228918
22Australia Melbourne3035212
23Germany Frankfurt933536
24China Shanghai5173935
25United States San Francisco15342720
26United States Miami29201734
27Switzerland Geneva26381024
28Norway Oslo20322132
29United Arab Emirates Dubai18183629
30Russia Moscow2493731
31Canada Montreal37311617
32New Zealand Auckland33401233
33Israel Tel Aviv39133038
34Italy Milan31372925
35Argentina Buenos Aires40143528
36Brazil São Paulo32163337
37United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi25213840
38India Mumbai36223239
39Malaysia Kuala Lumpur34363130
40Thailand Bangkok35393426

Global City Competitiveness Index[16]

In 2012, the Economist Intelligence Unit (The Economist Group), ranked the competitiveness of global cities according to their demonstrated ability to attract capital, businesses, talent and visitors.

1United States New York City71.4
2United Kingdom London70.4
3Singapore Singapore70.0
4Hong Kong Hong Kong69.3
4France Paris69.3
6Japan Tokyo68.0
7Switzerland Zürich66.8
8United States Washington, D.C.66.1
9United States Chicago65.9
10United States Boston64.5
11Germany Frankfurt64.1
12Canada Toronto63.9
13Switzerland Geneva63.3
13United States San Francisco63.3
15Australia Sydney63.1
16Australia Melbourne62.7
17Netherlands Amsterdam62.4
18Canada Vancouver61.8
19United States Los Angeles61.5
20South Korea Seoul60.5
20Sweden Stockholm60.5
22Canada Montreal60.3
23Denmark Copenhagen59.9
23United States Houston59.9
25United States Dallas59.8
25Austria Vienna59.8
27Republic of Ireland Dublin59.5
28Spain Madrid59.4
29United States Seattle59.3
30United States Philadelphia58.5
31United States Atlanta58.2
31Germany Berlin58.2
33Norway Oslo57.2
34Belgium Brussels57.1
35Germany Hamburg56.8
36New Zealand Auckland56.7
37United Kingdom Birmingham56.6
37Taiwan Taipei56.6
39China Beijing56.0
40United Arab Emirates Dubai55.9
41United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi55.8
41Spain Barcelona55.8
43United States Miami55.2
43China Shanghai55.2
45Malaysia Kuala Lumpur55.0
46Czech Republic Prague53.7
47Qatar Doha52.9
47Italy Milan52.9
47Japan Osaka52.9
50Japan Nagoya52.3
50Italy Rome52.3
52China Shenzhen51.7
53Poland Warsaw51.3
54Monaco Monaco51.0
55Hungary Budapest50.4
56South Korea Incheon50.2
57Portugal Lisbon49.5
58Russia Moscow49.4
59Israel Tel Aviv49.3
60Argentina Buenos Aires49.2
61Thailand Bangkok49.0
62Brazil São Paulo48.3
63Japan Fukuoka47.7
64South Korea Busan47.4
64China Guangzhou47.4
66Poland Kraków47.3
67South Africa Johannesburg47.1
68India Delhi46.7
68Chile Santiago46.7
70India Mumbai46.6
71Mexico Mexico City46.2
72Greece Athens46.1
73South Africa Cape Town45.9
74Turkey Istanbul45.5
75China Tianjin45.4
76Romania Bucharest44.9
76Brazil Rio de Janeiro44.9
78Panama Panama City44.8
79India Bangalore44.6
80Kuwait Kuwait City44.2
81Indonesia Jakarta44.1
82China Dalian44.0
83China Chengdu43.5
84China Suzhou43.4
85Philippines Manila43.2
86Oman Muscat43.0
87China Chongqing42.9
88Peru Lima42.5
89Colombia Bogotá42.3
90Mexico Monterrey42.2
91China Qingdao42.1
92India Ahmedabad41.9
93China Hangzhou41.6
94South Africa Durban41.2
95Turkey Ankara40.9
96Colombia Medellín40.0
97India Pune39.8
98Brazil Belo Horizonte39.4
98India Hyderabad39.4
100Kazakhstan Almaty39.3
100Russia Saint Petersburg39.3
102Mexico Guadalajara39.0
102Brazil Porto Alegre39.0
104Vietnam Hanoi38.8
105India Chennai38.1
106India Kolkata37.8
106Saudi Arabia Riyadh37.8
108Ukraine Kiev36.9
109Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City36.5
110Indonesia Surabaya35.9
111Sri Lanka Colombo35.6
112Pakistan Karachi35.5
113Egypt Cairo35.0
114Indonesia Bandung34.8
115Kenya Nairobi34.6
116Egypt Alexandria31.8
117Lebanon Beirut30.6
118Bangladesh Dhaka27.7
119Nigeria Lagos27.6
120Iran Tehran27.2

See also


  1. ^ Sassen, Saskia - The global city: strategic site/new frontier
  2. ^ Sassen, Saskia - The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. (1991) - Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07063-6
  3. ^ "UK History". 18 December 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Doel, M. & Hubbard, P., (2002), "Taking World Cities Literally: Marketing the City in a Global Space of flows", City, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 351-368. Subscription required
  5. ^ a b GaWC Research Bulletin 5, GaWC, Loughborough University, 28 July 1999
  6. ^ J.V. Beaverstock, World City Networks 'From Below', GaWC, Loughborough University, 29 September 2010
  7. ^ K. O'Connor, International Students and Global Cities, GaWC, Loughborough University, 17 February 2005
  8. ^ "The World According to GaWC 2010". Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group and Network. Loughborough University. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  9. ^ a b "The World According to GaWC". GaWC. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  10. ^ "2012 Global Cities Index and Emerging Cities Outlook" (PDF). Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  11. ^ The main parameters are "Business activity" (30%), "Human capital" (30%), "Information exchange" (15%), "Cultural experience" (15%) and "Political engagement" (10%). "The 2008 Global Cities Index". Foreign Policy (November/December 2008). 21 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  12. ^ Richard Florida (May 8, 2012). "What Is the World's Most Economically Powerful City?". The Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  13. ^ "The Top 10 most powerful cities in the world". Yahoo! India Finance. May 11, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  14. ^ Global Power City Index 2012. Tokyo, Japan: Institute for Urban Strategies at The Mori Memorial Foundation. October 2012. 
  15. ^ "The Wealth Report 2013". Knight Frank LLP. 
  16. ^ "The Global City Competitiveness Index". 12 March 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 

External links