ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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World Cities and Grand Theories

City, Space, and Globalization: An International Perspective edited by Hemalata Dandekar; Ann Arbor, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan, MI, 1998; pp viii + 391, appendix.


Globalizing Cities: A New Spatial Order? edited by Peter Marcuse and Ronald van Kempen; Blackwell, Oxford, 2000; pp xviii + 318, index.


Globalization and the City by John R Short and Yeong-Hyun Kim; Addison Wesley Longman, New York, 1999; pp xii + 169, index.

Since the original formulation of the so-called ‘world city hypothesis’ in the early 1980s by John Friedmann and Goetz Wolff, students of the urban scene have adjusted the scope of their analysis to the global level. Friedmann and Wolff observed the emergence of a global hierarchy of cities that form the basic nodes in the world economy. The urban system had become one of global proportions and cities had arisen as key ‘players’ in the world economy. The world city hypothesis also posited that a city’s local character and its internal economic and social structure are reflections of the city’s particular position and function in the world economy and in the global urban system.

The first part of the hypothesis led to research on the role of major cities as command and control centres in the world economy, and to classifications of cities around the world in the global urban hierarchy. It is argued that cities have become increasingly important as places from which the world economy is orchestrated: the city as command or power centre, a ‘basing point’, a node in the world economy. It is generally accepted that there are three primary world cities that dominate the global economy: New York, London and Tokyo. The second tier usually includes cities such as Paris and Los Angeles. Further down the hierarchy there are cities with roles that are confined to the region in which they are located, such as Singapore and Miami.

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