GaWC Research Bulletin 238

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Cities, World Cities, Networks and Globalization

P.J. Taylor


1. Purpose and structure

There are two basic ways of thinking about modern space-economies: as mosaics of places or networks of flows. Most analysis focuses on the former, in this paper I propose a spaces of flow approach. To those of you familiar with geographical theory, I add central flow theory to the familiar central place theory. I will present theory heavily pregnant with practical and applied implications. This will be attempted using only a skeletal argument because I wish to cover a lot of ground without detailing every point. I hope this will promote questions and discussion. I use a simple report format to order the argument.

1.1 Basic Purpose: To Introduce some Recent Thinking about World City Network and Economic Development

Research at GaWC has pioneered the conceptualisation and measurement of the world city network with a particular focus on the network connectivity of cities. For instance, one finding is that in 2004 Mexico City's connectivity was 0.494 ranking the city 18th in the world; this places it just behind Sao Paulo (14 th), slightly ahead of Buenos Aires (20 th), and further ahead of Santiago (36 th). What does this mean? An answer can be given at two levels. First, there is a specific explanation involving elucidation of the model concluding that 0.494 is a measure of how well Mexico City is integrated into the world city network. Second, there is a general explanation about how relevant this network integration is – what does it mean for the current and future development of the city? For this audience of city researchers and practitioners I will concentrate on trying to provide the latter answer.

1.2 Supplementary: To Locate GaWC Work in a Familiar Context

The route taken to achieve the main purpose creates another potentially useful argument through placing GaWC work into a research context that links it to geography's most famous spatial model, albeit recently neglected, central place theory. Drawing on ideas about constructions of different forms of social space – spaces of places and spaces of flows – GaWC's interlocking network model is redesignated as ‘central flow theory'. This is deemed to be a necessary adjunct to central place theory for understanding the external relations of urban places. The culmination of the argument is that central place theory is relevant for planning-administration practice but for planning-development practice, central flow theory needs to be centre stage.

1.3 Towards: Producing Spatial Knowledge Relevant to Contemporary Urban and Regional Planning

Therefore the thinking reported here has, as one of its end products, an understanding of spatial interactions between urban places that will provide relevant knowledge for city practitioners. But not yet! At present this is still an exercise in thought experiments with too many speculative leaps. Nevertheless, there is an urgency for rethinking our ideas on the external relations of towns and cities because of the ubiquitous rise of globalization. Arguably, the main challenge to urban practitioners today revolves around the bundle of processes we call globalization, and GaWC specialises in studying cities in globalization: therefore, the time is ripe for some serious dialogue between city theorists and city officials and politicians with GaWC as a hinge linking the two. Hence my presence here today to explore ideas that can inform this very necessary dialogue.

1.4 The Challenge of Globalization

My talk will begin and end with contemporary globalization, but I will focus upon generic ideas that transcend globalization. Globalization may represent a new economic era but that does not mean we should abandon ideas about the construction of social spaces from before globalization. In particular, central place theory is a classic example of generic spatial relations (city-hinterland relations are at least as old as ancient Mesopotamia and are still important today). I will argue that central flow theory, initially devised to describe the world city network in globalization, is no less generic. The paper is essentially about these two generic models of urban spatial relations.

2. Globalization

There is a huge literature on contemporary globalization; it is important that I present the basic positions I bring into my arguments. First, I will be concerned for the new spatial organization stimulated by globalization. Second, obviously my materialist analyses will mean a concentrate on economic globalization; within this field my focus will be on work. Third, I will introduce my way of critical engagement with globalization.

2.1 Up-scaling and Spaces of Flows

In terms of spatial organization there are two ways of approaching globalization. By definition, these processes operate at a global scale and therefore can be considered an ‘up-scaling' of social practices from the state-level. More generally, globalization is associated with a rescaling argument in which national domination of social practice is dissipating upwards to the global and downwards to the local. This is the most common way of viewing the changing spatiality, but there is an important alternative. Social practice creates social spaces and these take two forms: spaces of places and spaces of flows. Until recently spaces of places were the dominant social space (as exemplified by nation-states), but in the new informational world, spaces of flows are becoming the determining social spatial form. It is this new ‘network society' and the role of cities within it that will be my main concern below. This is a deep ontological position - globalization is characterised by a dominant new form of social space.

2.2 Development: States and Old Work, Cities and New Work

This has implications for how ‘development' is viewed. Economic development in terms of increased goods and services occurs in two contrary ways. First, production of existing commodities can be increased. In this process the economy grows larger but the division of labour stays the same. This is to reproduce or recycle past economic creation; it is ‘old work'. State economic planning has produced such economic growth through increasing old work. But this has its limitations. Second, production of new commodities can grow an economy. In this case the division of labour is altered creating a more complex economy. Such economic expansion is associated with cities where cycles of new work generate vibrant, cosmopolitan city economies. Globalization as a new space of flows is commonly viewed as ushering in a new age of cities.

2.3 The Need for a Generic Understanding of Cities

Cities, like states, transcend historical epochs – there have been other ‘ages of cities'. If cities and their capacity to generate economic expansion are treated as generic, this provides a route towards critically evaluating globalization. The latter is charged with accentuating or ‘speeding up' economic change in arguments that promote the idea that contemporary economic processes are unique. If the interplay of cities and states remain central to understanding economic development, it follows that such emphasis on singularity of the present are exaggerated. The bulk of this paper is my interpretation of generic external relations of cities thus allowing us to put the contemporary world city network into historical perspective. I argue that this is a necessary prelude to understanding globalization.

3. Central Place Theory as Generic Spatial Relations

Devised by the German geographer Christaller before World War II, central place theory became immensely popular in post-war Anglo-American geography where it represented geography's major contribution to understanding the spatial organization of society. Predicting a regularly-spaced, hierarchical patterning of urban settlements, in the 1960s it provided both theoretical substance to the new quantitative (spatial) geography and practical guidelines for new urban and regional (spatial) planning. However, subsequently viewed as a crude example of naïve positivism, central place theory was all but erased from geographical research agendas. But let's be clear here, the theory disappeared from academia but central place processes continued to operate as before. My way of rehabilitating central place ideas is to argue that rather than being a theoretical source for laws of human spatial behaviour (the positivist position), they describe something generic to towns and cities (a critical realist position).

3.1 A Generic Model of Urban Local-ness

Central place processes can be interpreted as the local dimension in urban external relations. In the formal specification of the model this is explicitly designated as bounded hinterlands (hexagons) around each urban settlement. In addition, there are ‘multiple level locals' organized into a hierarchy – larger urban centres have larger hinterlands specifically local to that central place. Thus central place theory defines a mosaic space of places with a hierarchical structure. I argue that such spaces of places are generic to all urbanized societies, including our current global one. But this does not mean endorsing mainstream application of the theory and its extensions.

3.2 Hierarchy as an Intrinsic Urban Relation?

Although the formal theorizing (especially the ‘unrealistic' hexagons) has been largely discarded, one key aspect of central place ideas has survived the positivist cull. Cities and towns continue to be viewed as hierarchical structures. Such thinking has become almost universal in the urban studies literature – inter-urban relations are, it seems, inherently hierarchical. This position has a crucial corollary: if urban settlements form a hierarchy, then their basic relation to one another is competition. Hierarchies are there to be climbed and any right-minded mayor will want to develop policies that ensure their city rises up the urban hierarchy. I will take exception to this simple equating of cities with hierarchy and competition.

3.3 State Adaptation: National Urban Systems

Generic processes are adapted to different historical social formations; in the 1960s central place theory was moulded into national urban systems modelling. In this argument national urban hierarchies were discovered and carefully depicted for all major countries. This nationalization of urban studies specified the nation-state as the top ‘local' (an imagined community, no less) and then divided up the national territory into neat regional units centred on cities. This was the state putting cities in their place, as it were. The staple of urban and regional planning in countries throughout the world since the 1960s, this was a classic example of states' tendency to simplify a complex world in its attempt to control social and economic processes. State planners and academics seeing urban relations like the state's own hierarchical bureaucracy will be challenged below.

3.4 Global Adaptation: World City Hierarchy

Intriguingly, the intellectual strength of the idea that cities ‘naturally' form hierarchies has meant that initial attempts in the 1980s and 1990s to understand cities in globalization invoked this same structure. The most common and popular way of conceiving contemporary cities has been as a ‘world city hierarchy'; without any state compulsion, academia (i.e. a research consensus) has deemed a trans-national urban hierarchy into existence. This is a typical case of ‘up-scaling' in which the argument appears to be: cities existed in national hierarchies, then globalization happened, now cities exist in a global hierarchy. Simplicity induced through state-thinking has just been accepted and made global: elements of central place theory live on in the world city hierarchy. However I have profound doubts as to whether this simple up-scaling from the local to the global really represents a sound argument for central place theory as a generic spatial relation.

4. The urban is constituted by two processes

I disagree profoundly with the position that both national space economies and the global space economy can be viewed as ‘central place theory writ large'. Quite simply, I think too much is being asked of central place concepts and ideas. Nevertheless, as also noted above, I do think central place processes continue to operate under conditions of contemporary globalization. My solution to this conundrum is to identify a second process of inter-urban connections that dominates external urban relations at larger geographical scales. In this section I use this position to critique up-scaling central place theory and to introduce the second process.

4.1 National Urban Systems as Closed Systems

National urban systems define national urban hierarchies that are modelled using the rank size rule. The reasoning behind this model assumes that the urban system is a closed system. Therefore all relations between cities in different countries are factored out of the model: New York is the leading city in the USA because of its relations with other US cities; it has nothing to do with its relations with non-US cities, in Europe for instance. However, vibrant dynamic cities are always cosmopolitan, to treat New York as US only is to severely under-estimate its economic significance in the twentieth century, and even more so in the twenty first. National urban systems are only credible because of the statistical convention to treat international trade as being about countries not cities. The national bounding of cities was a critical weakness in the heyday of this modelling, it is even more nonsensical today.

4.2 Inter-city Relations in Globalization are more Horizontal

The problem with the world city hierarchy is that this particular structure recognises only vertical connections, links between hierarchical levels. This is inherently problematic for all urban hierarchical analyses but it is especially acute under conditions of contemporary globalization when enabling technologies allow instant communication irrespective of city rank. For instance, Vancouver 's links with Hong Kong are not mediated through Toronto or New York, and the latter city is not ‘the US gateway' necessary for articulating Los Angeles ‘ relations with Shanghai. Clearly globalization processes require a different way of thinking about inter-city relations from that bequeathed to us from central place theory.

4.3 A Second Process: Non-local Urban Relations

Successful cities are cosmopolitan because they have strong non-local relations. This may take several forms but the most important is city networks, assemblages of cities with established inter-connections. It is in such networks that horizontal linkages are important. Vancouver has important links with Hong Kong and Toronto, New York and London, and Calgary and Seattle. Thus city networks constitute a second external urban process separate and distinctive from central place theory. This is what I have been modelling as the world city network and measuring as the network connectivity of cities.

4.4 Town-ness, City-ness and Simultaneous Processes

I will interpret the local processes of central place theory as ‘town-ness', the making of towns and their hinterlands as coherent economic units. I will interpret the non-local processes of city networks as ‘city-ness', the making of cities in networks as coherent economic units. The point of treating towns and cities as processes rather than places is to overcome the exclusivity of the latter in which an urban place is deemed either a town or a city. I argue that the two processes occur simultaneously in urban places. Every urban place, therefore, can and does have both town-ness processes and city-ness processes. The interesting question is the balance between the two processes for any given urban example.

5. Process I: Town-ness

In this section I return to central place theory as a generic local process and reinterpret it as town-ness.

5.1 ‘Central-Place Urban' as Generic Town-ness

I am going to argue that central places processes define an urban settlement's ‘town-ness'. As argued above, this is a local process linking the urban settlement to its hinterland. Town centres – ‘downtowns' - provide local services (retail, entertainment, administrative) to the surrounding area and as such create a functional zone of economic interactions. In this argument, the national economy is ‘largest local' such zone. Town-ness as hinterland servicing is generic; it is what towns do.

5.2 A Non-dynamic Relation

Town-ness is a local affair and as such is inherently non-dynamic as an economic process. No urban place grew to become a metropolitan economy by simply servicing its own hinterland. The city-hinterland relation is a relatively stable relation, not prone to rapid economic changes. In a rapidly changing economy, urban-hinterland relations will certainly change but they will never be at the cutting edge of economic development.

5.3 Not Development, Dependence

The reason why central place processes do not create development is because they include no local mechanism for expanding economic activity. Urban places grow by economic expansion deriving from the introduction of new work creating a more complex division of labour. Such dynamism will require inter-urban relations beyond servicing the local, whatever the hierarchical level. Thus economic change is something that occurs through a different process (city-ness) and diffuses down the central place hierarchy to urban settlements that are dominated by town-ness. Thus town-ness is a process that generates dependence and hierarchy.

5.4 Spatial Organization: A Space of Places

However, central place processes are important for creating the spatial organization through which society reproduces itself (distribution and consumption). The result is a space of places (hinterlands). This is generic; it will be the outcome of town-ness in all urbanized societies, including contemporary globalization.

6. Process II: City-ness

The terms city and town are sometimes used interchangeably, in dictionaries cities are commonly simply defined as large towns. I use neither this scalar measure (at what point does a town become a city?) nor more formal definitions such as state designation or cathedral foundation. As noted above, I am employing a materialist process development argument: cities are equated with economically dynamic, complex places.

6.1 ‘City-Network Urban' as Generic City-ness

City networks bring the non-local into an urban place to create a cosmopolitan mix of peoples, commodities and ideas. City-ness incorporates an inter-urban process, a network process that links together cities across different regions: this defines a broad hinterworld, beyond the local hinterland. The result is to make cities special places, unique settlements within which economic expansion occurs. City-ness as a process of change is generic: it is what cities do.

6.2 A Dynamic Relation

Cities are dynamic and complex and this derives from the city-ness network process. City networks are central to economic expansion through the mechanism of import replacement. This is how new work in a city is originally created: local production replaces imports from other cities. The result is the increasingly complex division of labour. Such import replacement tends to occur in economic spurts to convert an ordinary town into an extraordinary city. This is why cities never exist alone; they come in assemblages, ordered as networks.

6.3 Development and Mutuality

As previously argued, because they are the locus of economic expansion cities are central to development through new work (replacement and innovation). In addition, because they are complex economic units they are resilient to adverse change. And because they are a network process, their relations define mutuality: all cities in a network need each other in both good times and bad.

6.4 Spatial Organization: A Space of Flows

The spatial organization of economic development (production of commodities as new goods and services) is a space of flows: a network of dynamic cities. This is a generic feature but it can be very well illustrated by the list of dense networks of vibrant cities that have led the economic expansion of the modern world-system throughout its existence: northern and central Italian cities in the sixteenth century; the Dutch Republic cities in the seventeenth century; British cities in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; US, German and Japanese cities in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and East Asian cities in the late twentieth and twenty first centuries. It is the latter set of cities that have made the idea of globalization credible as a geographical phenomenon: the world city network.

7. Central Flow Theory as Generic Spatial Relations

And so finally we come to central flow theory. If, intellectually, central place theory is old and dated, central flow theory is new, in fact this is among its first public presentation under that name. Here I describe the model I have developed for world city network analysis as a critical component of city-ness; therefore it is as generic as central place theory.

7.1 Global/World Cities

Advanced producer services (professional, creative and financial) are at the cutting edge of economic globalization. They service global capital through solving the problems of operating in a transnational economy. These services have massively expanded and have contributed greatly to the new work that has created the dynamic and complex urban places that are called global or world cities. A key feature of these cities is that the import replacement mechanism has operated on a world-wide scale to produce a world city network.

7.2 The Interlocking Network Model

City-ness is a process and therefore there have to be agents who operationalise the process: cities do not replace imports, firms in cities do. In the case of the world city network the agents are the advanced producer service firms with global clientele. To service the latter, they operate through extensive office networks in cities across all world regions. It is the amalgam of these firms' office networks that constitutes the world city network. Inter-city relations are the flows of ideas, knowledge, information, plans, instructions, personnel, etc that are made in the every day business of carrying advanced producer service projects. Thus it is that the service firms ‘interlock' the cities and this can be formally specified as an interlocking network model. A key measurement derived from the model is a city's network connectivity that measures how well the city is integrated into the world city network.

7.3 The Source of Mutuality in City-ness

An important property of this model is that it does not reify the city. Since firms are the agents in the process it is they who are in competition within the world markets for the various services being offered (law, accountancy, advertising, etc). This is very different from the cities themselves being in competition. In fact, from the viewpoint of the agents, firms have a vested interest in all cities in their office networks being successful. Thus, instead of a global bank seeing London and Frankfurt as rival financial centres in Europe, they will have offices in both cities and will use the cities in different ways, for instance London as the platform for their global operations, Frankfurt for their expansion into central and eastern Europe. This is the basic source of the mutuality in the world city network.

7.4 The Interlocking Network Model as Generic Central Flow Theory

The interlocking network model was devised to study contemporary cities in globalization as indicated above but I now contend that it constitutes a generic model for city-ness, for city networks before globalization. Vibrant, dynamic cities have always been interlocked by ‘foreign' commerce – this has been what has made them cosmopolitan. Merchants, in particular, have been organised so that they have representatives in all the cities important to their business (the medieval German Hanse is a classic example). Sometimes the commercial links are so strong that different parts of the city are given over to different communities of foreign traders and producers (the Steelyard in London was administered by the German Hanse which included control over one of the city's gates). The point is that city networks are constituted by the interlocking of cities by commercial agents in the everyday course of their business practice – ergo, the interlocking network model is a generic central flow theory.

8 Taking Stock: Central Place Theory and Central Flow Theory

A lot of ideas have been put together in new ways in this talk and it is time to take stock of where we have reached. I will carry this out by contrasting old central place theory with new central flow theory. One note before I begin. Of course, it is the essence of modernity to favour the new over the old but this is not the case here: I have argued that the two generic theories of urban external relations are not interchangeable, they are separate and distinctive and therefore should be considered as complementary processes occurring, albeit at different levels, in all urban places.

8.1 Place and Flow

The two ‘theories' differ in their treatment of social space formation. In central place theory centrality of location is the basic building block upon which spaces of places are formally constructed. In complete contrast, in central flow theory it is flows that come to centre stage as the building block generating a network; it is a space of flows that is formally constructed. In other words it is a matter of what is central, place or flow. Of course, both frameworks include both places and flows, it is a matter of where to start the modelling which itself indicates an analytical priority: in central place theory places make flows, in central flow theory flows make places.

8.2 Hierarchy and Network

The outcome of the two theories is very different in terms of the spatial structures that are postulated. Central place theory is famous for its generation of a spatial hierarchy of urban settlements; central flow theory produces a spatial network of urban settlements. In other words, one focuses on vertical linkages between the urban places in which power is inherently unequal, the other features horizontal connections in which power is much more dispersed. Further, being constructed as a space of places, central place theory is about bounds, whereas central flow theories' horizontal network is unbounded.

8.3 Competition and Cooperation

The two spatial structures encompass two very different inter-urban relations. Hierarchy entails competition and since this element of central place theory has dominated how we view inter-urban relations, a large ‘city competition' literature has grown to advise city officials and planners on their ‘booster' policies. But this is to focus on one process at the expense of the other. Central flow theory entails network mutuality and this suggests that urban policy makers should focus on cooperation with other cities at least as much as competition.

8.4 Town-ness and City-ness

Defining two separate processes – town-ness in central place theory, city-ness in central flow theory – has the basic effect of eluding choice between the above dualities and moving on to analysing/negotiating relations between them. Thus urban settlements are constituted as places and flows, they exist in hierarchies and networks, and they both compete and cooperate. How we weight the balance between each pair in a particular analysis will depend on the nature of the urban settlement and the purpose of the analysis.

9. Beyond Dualities

I consider dualistic thinking to be a useful analytical tool as a method of confronting a dominant way of conceptualising a topic (in this case central place theory as external urban relations). But it has its limitations and these are becoming evinced in the train of thought above: negotiating duals may embed them in the analysis. I am near the current limits on my thinking: here I will discuss three clear examples where dual thinking is debilitating of understanding.

9.1 Contra-Duality I: Local and Global

When listing the pairings in ‘Taking stock' above, one obvious dual was missing: local-global. I have represented central place theory and town-ness as local and central flow theory and city-ness as global. But because this dualist interpretation is far too simplistic I have shied away from it: t he terms ‘glocal' and ‘glocalization' have become commonplace for good reasons. Behaviour at different scales always interact and therefore, ultimately, must always be considered together. For instance, contemporary dissipation of state dominance in political economy processes has resulted in enhanced importance of both global and local-level behaviours – hence the revised terminology that is awkward but necessary.

9.2 Contra-Duality II: Cluster and Network Externalities

Towns might be local but cities are definitely glocal: they are the classic locales of local-global nexuses. For instance, further discussion of import replacement, the centre of the development process as previously presented, is pertinent here. This process converts external relations (imports) into internal city relations (replacement). In fact, the latter is well theorised as Jacobs' externalities due to general economic clusters enabling economic expansion. Thus city-ness is constituted by the urban external (network processes) in combination with the urban internal (cluster processes). Clearly cities are at the forefront of economic growth because they are the loci of two overlapping economic externalities (cluster externalities and network externalities) providing critical market advantages together.

9.3 Contra-Duality III: World City Network and Planet of Slums

World city network formation is at the cutting edge of globalization as economic expansion; planet of slums is at the cutting edge of globalization as social inequality. These appear to be opposites, certainly they are very different processes. The world city network story is about the rise of world/global cities to service global capital, enabling it to operate transnationally in a concrete and uniquely comprehensive manner. The planet of slums story is about the final de-peasantization of the capitalist world-economy, a political economy process undermining vast tracks of the rural world (de-ruralization) and creating huge mega-cities. Miles apart in outcomes, although both processes straddle the core/non-core division, they are obvious part of the same economic restructuring we call globalization. And, of course, as processes they can both occur in the same place: Mexico City 's advanced service sector might rank 18 th in the world but it also houses a ‘megaslum' that ranks first in the world for size (Neza/Chalco/Izta) with 4 million inhabitants. This is not a dual city; it is Mexico City.

9.4 Back to ‘Taking Stock': Simplicity and Complexity

Back to negotiating dualities: given that this paper is about contrasting city-ness/central flow theory with town-ness/central place theory, I cannot leave the argument in contra-dual mode. I think what I provided in ‘Taking stock' was not opposing dualities but rather process dualities. As argued earlier, the key point is that processes can interweave in the same place at the same time. Hence my emphasis is on relations between the pairs of concepts. Further, I see these relations as being contingent: for example in good economic times cooperation is likely to be stronger than competition, but it will be all change when economic times turn bad. In other words, in a strong protectionist regime urban places retrench from city-ness to town-ness. Finally, behind all the arguments there has been a notion that town-ness is essentially a simple process and city-ness is a complex process. States can control and use town-ness (spatial planners seem to love central place theory), but they are mere one player among many in the blizzard that is the economic space of flows.

10. Back to Globalization

The contemporary world is the result of several years of economic restructuring; urban outcomes include town-ness becoming suburbanised and city-ness becoming globalized. Put this way, it might be that the two urban processes under conditions of contemporary globalization concretise different critical debates: town-ness can inform sustainability agendas and city-ness can inform development agendas. In this concluding section I will stick with concern for development policy. However in all treatment of urban settlements it cannot be forgotten that town-ness is critical to their being and becoming.

10.1 Global Adaptation: World City Network

We can now turn around time and treat world city network analysis, not as the originator of central flow analysis, but as an adaptation of those ideas for understanding contemporary globalization. I have argued that ‘world city hierarchy' is not a useful way to view cities in globalization but this does not mean there are no processes that are global and hierarchical. Clearly horizontal linkages have been crucial to the development of globalization but central place processes remain important even at larger scales. As well as their horizontal links, major world cities also keep some ‘gateway' functions with respect to their country or world region: Sao Paulo is the gateway to Brazil 's space-economy, for instance. It was such ‘spatial articulations' that were used to define the world city hierarchy and they remain, albeit diluted by new communication technologies. Thus the world city network is described as a ‘network with hierarchical tendencies'. The policy implication is to attend to hinterlands (competition) while cultivating hinterworlds (cooperation).

10.2 Dynamic and Stagnant Cities

In any city network, not all cities at all times will be dynamic cities. Stagnant cities occur when the new work from import replacement and innovation slows down so that the division of labour becomes static becoming relatively simple rather than complex. In other words, its city-ness process is eroding. Such a city is sustained in three ways. First, a city's town-ness processes are more stable and will continue with much less erosion as city-ness declines. For example, in the UK the dynamic early twentieth century city of Newcastle was largely sustained in the second half of the century through its role as a regional centre culminating in it becoming one of the UK 's premier shopping centres. Second, there can be expansion of old work transferred from elsewhere in the network; this is not import replacement but is production for export in either the product end-cycle (goods) or as backroom offices (services). Third, state support can create public jobs or encourage (subsidize) private jobs. None of these three processes can work in the long run: only city-ness can revive a city. For instance, there is evidence that under conditions of contemporary globalization, city-ness processes are finally moving Newcastle out of its economic doldrums. The policy implication is that there is no alternative to supporting city-ness if cities are to remain or reconstitute a dynamic and prosperous position.

10.3 Global Network Connectivity: Measure and Indicator

And so we return to Mexico City 's world city network connectivity of 0.494 in 2004. In simple practical terms it means that Mexico City 's integration into the world city network is a half of London 's, the leading city in the network. Given the dominance of London and New York in advanced producer services, this is by no means a poor score, as witnessed by the world ranking of 18 th. Doing global business in Mexico City is very well provisioned which represents massive new work addition since the 1980s. More generally, this measure can be interpreted as an indicator of the health of city-ness: being included in myriad world-wide office networks means specific new work but also the growth of other new work that requires this advanced servicing. Further, Mexico City is 84 th (out of 315 cities) in enhancing its network connectivity since the previous measurement in 2000; this is far better than Sao Paulo (177 th), but behind Santiago (22 nd), and Buenos Aires (65 th) suggesting the latter two are catching up on the two regional leaders, Sao Paulo and Mexico City. Note that by comparing Mexico City with world-regional rivals, I have invoked competition and town-ness. In fact, it is impossible to distinguish between enhanced town-ness (gateway functions) from broader horizontal city-ness processes from the world city network analysis. In other words, Mexico City is consolidating its position as a leading Latin American city in the world city network but it may also be becoming a more global player.


The paper results in part from ongoing discussions with Michael Hoyler and Raf Verbruggen. Bertha Becker, Peter Hall, Ron Johnston, Heike Jöns and Kathy Pain have commented on this paper and have helped sharpen the argument even though they might not always agree with my position.


Edited and posted on the web on 1st October 2007