Global city

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"World city" redirects here. For other uses, see World city (disambiguation).

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]


Although what constitutes a world city is still subject to debate, standard characteristics of world cities are:[6]


GaWC study

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

Together, Jon Beaverstock, Richard G. Smith and Peter J. Taylor established the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC). 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]

The rankings for 2012 were:[10]

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.[11] 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."[12] The ranking was updated in 2010, 2012 and 2014.[13]

Rank 2014
1SteadyUnited States New York City61.7
2SteadyUnited Kingdom London58.1
3SteadyFrance Paris52.3
4SteadyJapan Tokyo47.2
5SteadyHong Kong Hong Kong41.3
6SteadyUnited States Los Angeles38.0
7SteadyUnited States Chicago36.8
8Increase 6China Beijing35.1
9Increase 2Singapore Singapore34.3
10SteadyUnited States Washington, D.C.33.4
11Decrease 2Belgium Brussels32.9
12Decrease 4South Korea Seoul32.6
13Increase 3Canada Toronto32.4
14Decrease 2Australia Sydney32.3
15Increase 3Spain Madrid31.8
16Decrease 3Austria Vienna30.3
17Increase 2Russia Moscow29.5
18Increase 3China Shanghai29.4
19Increase 1Germany Berlin29.4
20Increase 2Argentina Buenos Aires28.9
21Decrease 6United States Boston28.6
22Decrease 5United States San Francisco27.2
23SteadyGermany Frankfurt26.7
24SteadySpain Barcelona26.7
25Increase 7Australia Melbourne26.7
26SteadyNetherlands Amsterdam26.3
27Increase 2United Arab Emirates Dubai26.3
28Increase 9Turkey Istanbul26.0
29Increase 7United States Miami25.5
30SteadyCanada Montreal25.4
Rank 2014
31Decrease 6Switzerland Zürich25.4
32Decrease 4Italy Rome24.1
33Decrease 6Sweden Stockholm23.5
34Decrease 1Brazil São Paulo23.4
35Decrease 1Mexico Mexico City23.0
36Increase 3United States Atlanta22.7
37Decrease 6Germany Munich22.4
38SteadyUnited States Houston22.3
39Decrease 4Switzerland Geneva21.7
40SteadyTaiwan Taipei21.3
41Increase 4India Mumbai20.9
42Increase 1Thailand Bangkok20.7
43Decrease 1Denmark Copenhagen20.6
44Decrease 3Italy Milan20.0
45Decrease 1Republic of Ireland Dublin18.1
46NAHungary Budapest17.5
47NACzech Republic Prague17.5
48NACanada Vancouver17.5
49Increase 1Egypt Cairo17.5
50NAUnited States Dallas17.4
51Increase 3Indonesia Jakarta17.2
52Increase 3Colombia Bogota16.4
53Decrease 4Malaysia Kuala Lumpur16.3
54Decrease 8Israel Tel Aviv15.9
55Decrease 8Japan Osaka15.8
56Decrease 3Brazil Rio de Janeiro15.6
57Decrease 9India New Delhi15.2
58NAChile Santiago14.7
59Decrease 7South Africa Johannesburg14.2
60NAPoland Warsaw13.6
Rank 2014
61NAPeru Lima13.6
62NAUnited Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi13.3
63Decrease 12Philippines Manila12.7
64NAQatar Doha12.4
65NASaudi Arabia Riyadh11.5
66Decrease 6China Guangzhou11.0
67Decrease 12Venezuela Caracas10.9
68Decrease 12Kenya Nairobi10.5
69Decrease 11India Bangalore10.2
70Decrease 9Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City8.9
71NASouth Africa Cape Town8.9
72NAIndia Chennai7.6
73Decrease 8China Shenzhen7.2
74Decrease 15Nigeria Lagos7.2
75Decrease 12Bangladesh Dhaka7.1
76Decrease 14Pakistan Karachi6.9
77NABahrain Manama6.8
78NAMorocco Casablanca6.3
79Decrease 15India Kolkata6.0
80NAEthiopia Addis Ababa5.7
81NATunisia Tunis5.3
82NAPakistan Lahore4.8
83NADemocratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa4.7
84Decrease 18China Chongqing3.8

Global Economic Power Index


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[16] 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


The Institute for Urban Strategies at The Mori Memorial Foundation in Tokyo issued a comprehensive study of global cities in 2014. 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".

Rank 2014
1SteadyUnited Kingdom London1485.8
2SteadyUnited States New York City1362.8
3SteadyFrance Paris1292.4
4SteadyJapan Tokyo1276.1
5SteadySingapore Singapore1138.6
6SteadySouth Korea Seoul1117.8
7SteadyNetherlands Amsterdam1055.5
8SteadyGermany Berlin1054.9
9Increase 2Hong Kong Hong Kong1012.8
10Decrease 1Austria Vienna1004.3
11Decrease 1Germany Frankfurt988.1
12Increase 3Switzerland Zürich973.8
13SteadyAustralia Sydney968.7
14SteadyChina Beijing960.3
15Decrease 3China Shanghai958.3
16SteadySweden Stockholm954.3
17Increase 1Canada Toronto938.5
18Increase 2Denmark Copenhagen921.7
19Decrease 2Spain Madrid914.8
20Increase 2United States Los Angeles912.0
21Increase 6Turkey Istanbul901.2
22Increase 2Canada Vancouver894.1
23Decrease 2Belgium Brussels884.6
24Increase 2United States Washington, D.C.884.4
25Increase 5Italy Milan874.3
26Decrease 3Japan Osaka872.5
27Decrease 8Spain Barcelona869.3
28Decrease 3Switzerland Geneva860.4
29Increase 3Thailand Bangkok851.0
30Increase 1United States Boston846.7
31Decrease 2United States Chicago840.9
32Decrease 4United States San Francisco832.0
33Steady 1Taiwan Taipei816.3
34SteadyMalaysia Kuala Lumpur786.7
35Increase 1Russia Moscow760.3
36Decrease 1Japan Fukuoka747.4
37SteadyMexico Mexico City711.7
38SteadyBrazil São Paulo692.8
39SteadyIndia Mumbai615.3
40SteadyEgypt Cairo537.5

The Wealth Report


"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


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. ^ Pashley, Rosemary. "HSC Geography". Pascal Press, 2000, p.164
  7. ^ J.V. Beaverstock, World City Networks 'From Below', GaWC, Loughborough University, 29 September 2010
  8. ^ K. O'Connor, International Students and Global Cities, GaWC, Loughborough University, 17 February 2005
  9. ^ a b "The World According to GaWC". GaWC. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  10. ^ "The World According to GAWC 2012". GAWC. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "2012 Global Cities Index and Emerging Cities Outlook" (PDF). Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "2014 Global Cities Index and Emerging Cities Outlook" (PDF). Retrieved April 2014. 
  14. ^ Richard Florida (8 May 2012). "What Is the World's Most Economically Powerful City?". The Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "The Top 10 most powerful cities in the world". Yahoo! India Finance. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Richard Florida (15 September 2011). "The 25 Most Economically Powerful Cities in the World". The Atlantic Cities. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "Global Power City Index 2014". Tokyo, Japan: Institute for Urban Strategies at The Mori Memorial Foundation. October 2014. 
  18. ^ "The Wealth Report 2013". Knight Frank LLP. 
  19. ^ "The Global City Competitiveness Index". 12 March 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 

External links