GaWC Research Network: Peter J. Taylor

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Peter J. Taylor

GaWC Director (City Networks and City/State Relations)

Peter Taylor founded GaWC in 1998 to promote the study of how cities relate to each other economically, a neglected research theme but one that had become important under conditions of contemporary globalization. Because of the sheer magnitude of studying inter-city relations in globalization he devised GaWC as a vehicle for bringing together researchers from across the world to share the work. His chief personal contribution to this endeavour has been the specification of the world city network as an interlocking network model with leading business service firms as the network makers. This model has the basic advantage of both conceptual clarification and practicable data requirements enabling empirical evaluations of a changing world city network. This research is recorded in two books: World City Network: a Global Urban Analysis (Routledge, 2004) and Global Urban Analysis: A Study of Cities in Globalization (Earthscan, 2011). Subsequently he has generalised the model historically as cities always developing as commercial networks: this is presented in Extraordinary Cities: Millennia of Moral Syndromes, World-Systems and City/State Relations (Edward Elgar, 2013). The latter work has brought to the fore two themes he is currently working on: (i) bringing the state back in through a bi-layered global spatial-economy model combining cities in spaces of flows with states operating through spaces of places; and (ii) exploring the idea of green networks of cities as a contribution to environmental change debates.

As an urban analyst Peter Taylor has worked with economic development agencies in Abu Dhabi, Chengdu, Dublin, London, Milan and Sydney. He views cities as concentrations of work, and development as generation of new work that produces an increasingly complex division of labour. He brings a deep generic knowledge to urban policy development which he endeavours to combine with existing local knowledge of the city, the latter including from public officials plus, often untapped, private sector understandings of how a city is working. Empirically this entails benchmarking a city within the world city network so as to ensure urban policy incorporates understanding global trends.

Peter Taylor is Emeritus Professor of Human Geography at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and Emeritus Professor of Geography at Loughborough University, UK. A Fellow of the British Academy, he has published approximately 450 books and articles, over 60 of which have been translated into one or more of over 20 languages. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the Universities of Ghent and Oulu.