GaWC Project 18

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Enhancing Research and Pedagogic Skills in GaWC

Funded by: The Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust

Participants: J.R. Short in association with P.J. Taylor and J.V. Beaverstock



The Leverhulme Trust fund a Visiting Professor programme to facilitate international collaboration in advanced scholarship. The University of Loughborough have been awarded a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship to enable John Rennie Short (Syracuse University) to contribute to the development of GaWC. John Short will be a Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the Department of Geography during 2001-02.

Details of the proposed programme

The proposed programme of work has two objectives.

Objective 1: to diffuse Short's research skills to GaWC (the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network) in order to develop a broader conception of the world city network for future projects. This will involve investigative search techniques for a research area notorious for its data deficiences and bringing the latest qualitative techniques to bear on world city issues. In particular there will be a focus on drawing on Short's expertise in cultural studies to find ways of measuring cultural flows between cities to complement our existing data on economic flows.

Objective 2: to diffuse Short's pedagogic skills to GaWC and harness them in new curriculum development. This will involve assessing the potential of both the human and virtual resources at GaWC's disposal and designing a suite of courses for undergraduates and graduates. Exploring electronic collaboration will be at the centre of this teaching objective.

Justification for these objectives is described below under ‘Suitability of the host institution…’.

The timetable will cover a 15 month period beginning 15/9/01 within which there will be two 3 month visits to Loughborough. It is important to note that this is conceived as a full 15 month programme: the work will be on-going throughout all of the period of the programme with electronic communication between Loughborough and Syracuse substituting for face-to-face contacts in research and teaching developments where they are deemed to be sufficient. Needless to say, the visits will be crucial and much of the electronic communication will be about preparing and reviewing the work of the visits.

Visit 1: this will focus on the research objective and will take place from 15-9-01 to15-12-01. Professor Peter Taylor will be the host organiser for this visit which will culminate in a series of Leverhulme lectures in the final month of the visit provisionally titled: 1. "World cities and economic globalization"; 2. "World cities and political globalization"; 3. "World cities and cultural globalization"; and 4. "A holistic view of world cities".

Visit 2: this will focus on the curriculum development objective and will take place from15-9-02 to 15-12-02. Dr Jon Beaverstock will be the host organiser for this visit which will include Short delivering the 4th Annual GaWC lecture (1999 given by Saskia Sassen (Chicago); 2000 given by Henry Yeung (Singapore), 2001 to be given by Stephen Graham (Newcastle)) provisionally entitled "Teaching world cities as a new world order".

It is important to note that these visits will be focused as above but will involve some activities relating to the other objective. certainly undergraduates will be encourage to attend the Leverhulme lectures for example. Both visits will involve Dr Richard Smith (Department of Geography, University of Leicester) and Michael Hoyler (Department of Geography, Heidelberg University) and Dr Richard Bostock (City of London Corporation) who are all GaWC Research Fellows.

The outcomes of this work, and their assessments, will be as follows.

Outcome 1: an enhanced research profile of skills for GaWC. This will be evidenced in two distinct ways. First, there will be a suite of new research projects including collaboration at Syracuse. More fundamentally, there will be continuing research contact involving developing new techniques of data search and capture, new analyses and new theoretical developments between Syracuse and Loughborough but with the intention of bringing others in from other parts of the world, notable from East Asia. The mode of assessment will consist of a research seminar at the end of the 15 month programme to evaluate where we have reached, to be followed by a second seminar a year later to review progress. Both seminars will be scheduled for major conferences so that we can bring in further assessors.

Outcome 2: a new curriculum of world city courses for both undergraduates and postgraduates at Loughborough (the Geography Department is graded Mode A by the ESRC). These courses will make widespread use of the GaWC website and will run parallel with courses at Syracuse. The mode of assessment will be by student questionnaire to supplement the standard university course assessment exercise. Once again, this work will not finish after 15 months but improvements in curriculum will be ongoing through sharing ideas and experiences between Syracuse and Loughborough.

Justification of choice of individual

John Rennie Short is Professor of Geography at one of the USA's leading departments of geography (Syracuse). He is an internationally renowned scholar of human geography with particular reference to urban issues. His reputation has been built upon a long list of key research contributions plus the production of several popular textbooks for undergraduates.

There is a direct synergy between Short's research on world cities and that of GaWC (see next section below). This is exemplified by his 1996 article "A dirty little secret" in which he is critical of existing literature because of an empirical deficit in the research upon which major ideas are built. For instance, there is much reference to a world city hierarchy but hardly any attempt to accurately specify such an order empirically. His identification of the problem came at the same time as we saw the same empirical deficit and devised GaWC to overcome it. Whereas we were drawn to consider relations between cities, Short moved forward along a different trajectory by searching for a range of alternative new sources of data for studying world cities. This reflects his longer term interest in cultural dimensions of urban areas (e.g. 1996 book The Urban Order)), in cultural debates in social science (e.g. 1998 book New Worlds, New Geographies) and his most recent concern for cultural globalization in particular (Professional Geographer article in press). In other words, Short has been developing just the sort of holistic view of world cities which we wish to move on to. This is illustrated most clearly in his recent book on world cities (1999 book Globalization and the City) where economic, political and cultural globalizations with respect to cities are given equal weight.

Short has a strong record of texts in urban studies (e.g 1984 The Urban Arena, 1989; The Humane City; 1992 Human Settlement; 1996 The Urban Order; 1999 Globalization and the City). Through these books he has been instrumental in bringing the latest changes in urban patterns and practices to students across the world. In the 1990s he propagated ideas of the 'postindustrial city' and the 'new urban order' - both crucial concepts to understand world cities - culminating in the most innovative and comprehensive urban geography text of the period (1996 The Urban Order). In all of his texts Short shows respect for his audience by not ducking difficult theoretical questions. This is true of his latest textbook on world cities (1999 Globalization and the City) which has already become the standard text for courses in this field.

In conclusion, Short has exactly the record of scholarship in research and teaching to meet the needs of GaWC as it addresses the two issues identified above.

Suitability of host institution

The proposed visiting professorship will be located in the Department of Geography, Loughborough University and attached to the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group and Network within that department. The latter was formed in 1997 and has been particularly successful in developing its research wing. Identifying a lacuna at the heart of the world cities literature - the dearth of empirical evidence on inter-city relations - it has very quickly become the leading research centre for the study of world city network formation. In its three years of existence it has been successful in winning four ESRC research grants: The Geographical Scope of London as a World City: A Relational Study (one year); Embeddedness, Knowledge and Networks: British Expatriates in Global Financial Centres (two years); A Comparison of London and New York's Responses to the Asian Financial Crisis (one year); World City Network Formation in a Space of Flows (14 months); and one foundation grant: Comparing London and Frankfurt as World Cities (Anglo-German Foundation, 14 months). This work has already led to numerous publications including an article in the special Millennium issue of Geography's premier journal, Annals of the Association of American Geographers. In short, GaWC has found a key niche within the critical field of globalization and has exploited it very successfully. Full details of GaWC's work, achievements and aspirations can be found at:

This application targets two aspects of GaWC's work which need to be addressed urgently. First, our research has been specifically narrow in focus in the sense of both object of study (corporate service firms) and research methodology (largely quantitative). World cities are much more than service centres and we need to broaden our horizons towards the original holistic definition of Peter Hall (cultural, educational, and political as well as economic). We have begun to expand our methodologies but we need to go much further towards the ideal of quantitative and qualitative methods complementing each other in a rounded approach to understanding world cities.

Second, we have developed our research arm but have yet to translate this into curriculum development. GaWC is titled a 'study group' to indicate it aspires to more than research success. It has a pedagogic aim which is to propagate alternative global-social representations to the familiar 'international' state mosaic, the world political map. We operate on the assumption that teaching and research are symbiotic, feeding into each other, and therefore we view GaWC's current position as intellectually unbalanced. This application is a key part of our strategy to address these two issues.

Cited references by J R Short

in press ‘Cultural globalization, global English and Geography journals’ Professional Geographer (with A. Boniche, Y. Kim and P Li Li).

1999 Globalization and The City (Addison Wesley Longman, London) (co-authored with Yeong Kim)

1998 New Worlds, New Geographies (Syracuse University Press)

1996 The Urban Order (Blackwell, Oxford)

1996 ‘The dirty little secret of world cities research’ International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 20, 697-717 (with K.Yeung, M. Kuus and H. Wells)

1992 Human Settlement (ed) (Oxford University Press, New York)

1989 The Humane City (Blackwell, Oxford)

1984 The Urban Arena (Macmillan, London)

For results of this project, see GaWC Research Bulletins 76, 93 and 100.