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Random Wikipedia Fact #24

Random Wikipedia Fact #24

Global city
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In line with recent interest I’ve expressed on this blog, an afternoon of tylenol-flu-induced-in-bed-wikipedia-ing led me to the page of Global City, a term Saskia Sassen coined in reference to London, New York and Tokyo in her 1991 work The Global City. Anyway, this may be totally uninteresting, but Ive posted excerpts from the wikipedia entry, which categorizes cities based on certain criteria. A bit now, more after the jump:

A global city (also called world city) is a city deemed to be an important node point in the global economic system. The concept comes from geography and urban studies and rests on the idea that globalisation 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. The terminology of “global city”, as opposed to megacity, is thought to have been first coined by Saskia Sassen in reference to London, New York and Tokyo in her 1991 work The Global City.’


Global City or world city status is seen as beneficial, and because of this many groups have tried to classify and rank which cities are seen as ‘world cities’ or ‘non-world cities’. Although there is a general consensus upon leading world cities, the criteria upon which a classification is made can affect which other cities are included.

International, first-name familiarity; whereby a city is recognized without the need for a political subdivision. For example, although there are numerous cities and other political entities with the name Paris or variations on it, one would say “Paris”, not “Paris, France”.

Active influence on and participation in international events and world affairs; for example, New York City is home to the United Nations headquarters complex and consequently contains a vast majority of the permanent missions to the UN.[5]

A fairly large population (the centre of a metropolitan area with a population of at least one million, typically several million).

A major international airport that serves as an established hub for several international airlines.
An advanced transportation system that includes several freeways and/or a large mass transit network offering multiple modes of transportation (rapid transit, light rail, regional rail, ferry, or bus).

In the West, several international cultures and communities (such as a Chinatown, a Little Italy, or other immigrant communities);for example, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, and Vancouver. In other parts of the world, cities which attract large foreign businesses and related expatriate communities; for example, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and Moscow.

International financial institutions, law firms, corporate headquarters, international conglomerates, and stock exchanges (for example the World Bank, or the London Stock Exchange) that have influence over the world economy.

An advanced communications infrastructure on which modern trans-national corporations rely, such as fiberoptics, Wi-Fi networks, cellular phone services, and other high-speed lines of communications.

World-renowned cultural institutions, such as museums and universities.

A lively cultural scene, including film festivals (such as the Toronto Film Festival), premieres, a thriving music or theatre scene (for example, West End theatre and Broadway); an orchestra, an opera company, art galleries, and street performers.

Several powerful and influential media outlets with an international reach, such as the BBC, Reuters, The New York Times, or Agence France-Presse.

A strong sporting community, including major sports facilities, home teams in major league sports, and the ability and historical experience to host international sporting events such as the Olympic Games, Football World Cup, or Grand Slam tennis events.


The concept of the global city is sometimes associated with the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) based at the geography department of Loughborough University, which aims to provide a categorization and ranking of world cities. An attempt to define and categorise world cities was made in 1999. The roster was outlined in the GaWC Research Bulletin 5 and ranked cities based on provision of “advanced producer services” such as accountancy, advertising, finance and law, by international corporations. The GaWC inventory identifies three levels of world cities and several sub-ranks.

Note that this roster generally denotes cities in which there are offices of certain multinational companies providing financial and consulting services rather than other cultural, political, and economic centres. There is a schematic map of GaWC cities at their website.

Alpha world cities / full service world cities

12 points: London, New York City, Paris, Tokyo
10 points: Chicago, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Milan, Singapore

Beta world cities / major world cities

9 points: San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, Zuerich
8 points: Brussels, Madrid, Mexico City, Sao Paulo
7 points: Moscow, Seoul

Gamma world cities / minor world cities

6 points: Amsterdam, Boston, Caracas, Dallas, Duesseldorf, Geneva, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Osaka, Prague, Santiago, Taipei, Washington, D.C.
5 points: Bangkok, Beijing, Montreal, Rome, Stockholm, Warsaw
4 points: Atlanta, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Miami, Minneapolis, Munich, Shanghai

Evidence of world city formation

Strong evidence
3 points: Athens, Auckland, Dublin, Helsinki, Luxembourg, Lyon, Mumbai, New Delhi, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, Tel Aviv, Vienna

Some evidence
2 points: Abu Dhabi, Almaty, Birmingham, Bogota, Bratislava, Brisbane, Bucharest, Cairo, Cleveland, Cologne, Detroit, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City, Kiev, Lima, Lisbon, Manchester, Montevideo, Oslo, Riyadh, Rotterdam, Seattle, Stuttgart, The Hague, Vancouver

Minimal evidence
1 point: Adelaide, Antwerp, Aarhus, Baltimore, Bangalore, Bologna, Brasilia, Calgary, Cape Town, Colombo, Columbus, Dresden, Edinburgh, Genoa, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Kansas City, Leeds, Lille, Marseille, Richmond, St. Petersburg, Tashkent, Tehran, Tijuana, Turin, Utrecht, Wellington

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