GaWC Research Bulletin 125

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This Research Bulletin has been published in Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 95 (5), (2004), 527-538.


Please refer to the published version when quoting the paper.


Porous Europe: European Cities in Global Urban Arenas

P.J. Taylor and B. Derudder


The notion that there is a European 'system of cities' or 'urban hierarchy' has been an attractive idea, since it appears to provide a coherent subset of cities to study within a regional context. Under conditions of contemporary globalization, however, the spatial order of European cities can only be properly understood as a 'porous Europe'. That is, it is impossible to sensibly discuss European inter-city relations separate from an encompassing world city network. This paper therefore analyses 77 European cities in the context of a global urban analysis of 234 cities across the world. The main conclusion is that leading European world cities are specifically distinguished through their forming of global urban arenas. They should therefore not be thought of as being un-European, but as a special kind of world city that is highly cosmopolitan in its inter-city relations.

Keywords: World city arenas, Europe, fuzzy cluster analysis, globalization, advanced producer services. 


In a recent paper Taylor and Hoyler (2000) described the 'spatial order' of European cities as a north-south 'spinal' core surrounded by minor regional 'outer' city clusters. They derived these results from a principal components analysis of the office networks of advanced producer service firms. In addition to classifying cities, this technique provides a measure of how well a city's service profile is accounted for by the model description. Taylor and Hoyler used these 'communality' measures to construct a table highlighting which cities are not well-described by their model, cities they referred to as 'un-European cities'. Some leading European cities, notably London, and several eastern European cities were thus designated un-European. This peculiar finding has been the stimulus for some rethinking of the analysis and constitutes the starting point of this discussion.

The idea that some cities located in Europe are, nevertheless, un-European is, of course, an artefact of a particular analysis. What these results therefore actually speak to is the fact that European cities have developed, with cities from the rest of the world, into a worldwide city network of global service centres (Taylor, 2004). The results showing 'un-European cities' are actually indicating an extreme sub-set of European cities, those with particularly strong connections beyond Europe. Thus London as Europe's leading global city is also its most connected city to the rest of the world. London's business services profile is very highly cosmopolitan and in this sense it appears not to be European. However, under conditions of contemporary globalization this can now be seen as a rather perverse way of looking at the situation. The most successful European cities trade their services across the world; being successful should not make a city less European, rather we should question the category of 'European city' itself in the context of studying inter-city relations.

The notion that there is a European 'system of cities' or 'urban hierarchy' has been an attractive idea; it appears to provide a coherent subset of cities to study within a regional context. In EU terms, for instance, there is much talk of a Europe of states, a Europe of nations and a Europe of regions, so why not a Europe of cities? Basically our negative answer is in the nature of the spaces implied by these various terms: like Europe itself, states, nations and regions define spaces of places, in contrast cities constitute a space of flows (Castells, 2002). Obviously this is very simplistic when baldly stated, but recognising this difference is critical for understanding the limitations of analyses that focus upon a so-called European urban hierarchy (e.g. Rozenblat and Cicille, 2003). Quite simply, you cannot contain city networks within bounded spaces: they are networked by their nature, and their analysis should therefore not be truncated (Jacobs, 1984; Taylor, 2004). Thus, especially within the framework of a new global scale of financial and business servicing, the existence of areal subsets such as a 'European city system' within the context of a world city network cannot just be assumed or asserted: it has to be shown that traditional historical world regions still define a valid patterning of inter-city relations. All our analyses of global office networks have shown strong regional patterns (Taylor et al., 2002b; 2002c; Taylor, 2003a; Derudder et al., 2003), but they are rather more complicated than simple delineation by continent. It is therefore highly problematic that, in studies of the functioning of a world city network, we can think of European cities as indicating anything more than a set of cities sharing a common geographical location. Castells' (1993, p. 247) use of 'European cities' as a generic category of world cities can therefore not simply be assumed, it must be empirically investigated; here we explore the idea of a 'European world city'.

In this paper we rework the research of Taylor and Hoyler (2000) so that our focus remains firmly on European cities but we study them within a comprehensive global analysis. The reworking involves four fundamental changes.

  1. We use a more recent and comprehensive data set. Collected in the summer of 2000, the data covers 315 cities and 100 global service firms.
  2. From this data we analyse 234 cities world-wide and focus on the results for the 88 European cities in the analysis.
  3. We replace the principal components model with a fuzzy set analysis which produces a particularly clear picture of regional and hierarchical tendencies among world cities.
  4. Although our purpose is to interpret European cities within the fuzzy set results, we are able to include non-European cities as and when necessary.

The latter relates to the 'porous Europe' of our title: under conditions of contemporary globalization it is impossible to sensibly discuss European inter-city relations separate from an encompassing world city network.

The argument is divided into three sections. In the next section we describe the data and analysis technique. The process of data construction and the application of the fuzzy set technique have been explained in detail elsewhere, here we provide a basic summary necessary for understanding the findings we report. In the following section, we come to the purpose of this paper: presentation and interpretation of our findings about European cities within the world city network. Finally, in a short concluding section we explain where our findings of a porous Europe are important to the future of Europe in the world economy.


Data cannot just be created. We have to conceptualise the processes we are studying with some precision so that we produce formal specification to identify data needs and thereby direct data collection and measurement.

II.1. Understanding the World City Network through Advanced Producer Firms

The rationale for specifying a world city network through a focus on financial and business firms' use of cities in their provision of services to global capital can be traced back to Sassen's (1991, 1995, 2000) work on place and production in a global economy. World cities are hereby conceived as the production sites for the leading service industries of our time, while these services themselves are usually understood in terms of their specialized outputs rather than the production process involved. Service industries firms provide knowledge-based (expert/profession/creative) services to other corporations to facilitate their business activities. Such corporate service firms have benefited immensely from the technological advances in computing and communications that have allowed them to broaden the geographical distribution of their service provision. For instance, law firms have been traditionally associated with a particular city and its local client base - a 'New York law firm', a 'Boston law firm' and so on - but under conditions of contemporary globalization a few firms have chosen to pursue a strategy of providing legal services across the world (Taylor et al., 2002a). Sassen (1995, p. 63) thus contends that

(.) a focus on the production process in service industries allows us (.) to examine the proposition that there is a producer services complex which, while catering to corporations, has distinct locational and production characteristics. It is this producer services complex more so than headquarters of firms generally that benefits and often needs a city location.

It has been argued elsewhere that new technologies, heavily used by advanced producer services firms, may neutralize distance as an impediment in locational decision making (e.g. O'Brien, 1992), but the reality of the locational strategies of these service industries seems to imply a new form of concentration in the face of economic globalization (Swyngedouw, 1997). The fact that these firms explicitly offer their global networks to possible clients, underpins that locational decisions are of the utmost importance to students of world cities. In other words, analyses of the concentration of these services in specific places may serve as the basis for specifications of the outline of the world city network.

II.2. Formal Specification and Empirical Model

Drawing on Sassen's work on the role of advanced producer services in world city formation, a theoretically grounded endeavour of data acquisition has been undertaken by the Globalization and World cities Group and Network (GaWC, In GaWC research, the world city network is formally specified as an inter-locking network (Taylor, 2001). An inter-locking network has three levels: a network level, in this case cities connected in a world economy, a nodal level, the cities, and a sub-nodal level, which are the firms providing the advanced producer services. It is at the latter level that world city network formation takes place. Through their attempts to provide a seamless service to their clients across the world, financial and business service firms have created global networks of offices in cities around the world. Each office network represents a firm's global strategy for dispensing its services, it is an outcome of location decision making at the scale of the world-economy. The world city network is therefore defined as the aggregate of the many service firms pursuing a global location strategy. The 'office towers' within world cities are the nodes between which there are flows of information, tacit and codified knowledge, ideas, personnel and instructions that connect the cities.

This theoretical specification can be translated in an empirical model, formally represented by a matrix Vij defined by n cities x m firms, where vij is the 'service value' of city i to firm j. This 'service value' is the importance of a city to a firm's office network, which depends upon the size and functions of an office or offices in a city. Thus every column denotes a firm's global strategy and every row describes each city's mix of services. The ensuing data requirements for measuring this network are thus quite straightforward: a matrix of n firms with information about their offices across m cities, where the information in each cell has to describe the importance of city y to firm x's global service provision (Taylor et al, 2002a). In the event 100 firms were identified in six sectors: 18 in accountancy, 15 in advertising, 23 in banking/finance, 11 in insurance, 16 in law, and 17 in management consultancy.1 Selecting cities was much more arbitrary and was based upon previous GaWC experience in researching global office networks. Capital cities of all but the smallest states were included plus many other important cities in larger states. In total, 315 cities were selected.2

Data collection focused on the size of offices (e.g. number of practitioners) and their extra-locational functions (e.g. regional headquarters). The exact nature of the information collected for each firm differed to that for every other firm, hence a standardization procedure was used to provide 'service values' ranging from 0 to 5. First, the city housing a firm's headquarters was scored 5, while a city with no office of that firm was scored 0. Allocation of the other scores began with the assumption that all cities with a non-HQ presence of a firm scored 2. This score represents the 'normal' or typical' service level of the given firm in a city. To determine such normality requires inspection of the distribution of information across all cities for that firm. To alter this score there has to be a specific reason. For instance, a city where contact with its office is referred elsewhere was scored 1 for that firm. In other firms where there was full information on numbers of practitioners, a city with an office showing very few (perhaps none) professional practitioners was also scored 1. The point is that the boundary between 1 and 2 differs across firms depending on information available. The same is true of the other boundaries. Generally, the boundary between 2 and 3 has been based upon size factors, and that between 3 and 4 on extra-territorial factors. For instance, exceptionally large offices with many practitioners led to a city scoring 3, while location of regional headquarters led to a city scoring 4. In practice, size and extra-territorial information have been mixed where possible in deciding on the boundaries for each firm. The end-result of this data collection was a 315 x 100 matrix Vij where vij ranges from 0 to 5. It is these 31,500 pieces of information that constitute the data analysed below.

II.3. Measuring Network Connectivity

Based on the input matrix Vij, elementary network analyses can be conducted of the world city network. Assuming there is no actual information on inter-office flows for firms across cities, the most basic indicator is the relational element rab,j for each pair of cities a, b in terms of a firm j, which is derived from the initial matrix Vij as follows:

rab,j = vaj . vbj  

The general assumption underlying this approach is that in their striving for a seamless service, the office networks of global service networks represent fundamental distributions of flows of information and knowledge between cities. Thus it follows that two cities with similar service complexes will likely have more commercial relations than two cities with very dissimilar service complexes. More specifically, the conjecture behind conceiving this elemental interlock link as a surrogate for actual flows of inter-firm information and knowledge between cities is that the more important the office, the more connections there will be with other offices in a firm's network. This approach is reasonable when the following assumptions are made. First, offices generate more flows within a firm's network than to other firms in their sector. This has not yet been empirically tested but is inherently plausible. For instance, drawing up an inter-jurisdictional contract by a law firm will involve flows of information and knowledge between offices of that firm to achieve the ideal seamless service. Second, the more important the office, the more flows are generated and these have a multiplicative effect on inter-city relations. The first part of this assumption is obviously very plausible again. The second part reflects the hierarchical nature of office networks where larger offices have special functions like control and provision of specialised knowledge. Without evidence of actual flows there is no easy means of estimating this effect, a multiplicative process is a reasonably simple way to reflect the importance of major offices in the world city network.

Each city has such an interlock link with every other city for every firm, and aggregating all the inter-lock links of this city produces the global network connectivity of a city:

Equation (a¹ i)

The limiting case is a city that shares no firms with any other city, so that all of its elemental links are 0 and it has zero connectivity. These overall GNC measures are used in section 3 to order cities hierarchically, whereby GNC measures will be expressed as proportions of the largest computed connectivity in the data, thus creating a scale from 0 to 1.

Although it can readily be seen that the required data input for this specification follows Sassen's rather narrow conceptualisation of world cities as global service centers, it has a distinct advantage when compared to the attributional approaches taken in previous assessments (e.g. Friedmann, 1995). That is, this approach entails a relational specification: a city that harbours a large amount of advanced producer service firms that have a limited global reach will not be deemed as an important world city in this approach.

II.4. Exploratory Fuzzy Set Analysis

Apart from the overall connectivity measures, a wide range of multivariate data analysis techniques can be used to explore the patterns present in Vij, but in the event we have chosen to apply a fuzzy cluster analysis. The attraction of fuzzy analysis for ordering world cities is in the nature of the network processes: different cities fulfil different functions within the world-system and will differ in both the nature and the degree of world city-ness (Knox, 2002). Thus any classification scheme used to unravel the patterns in our world city database should take into account that patterns will never be clear-cut. Classifications where the results are presented as crisp divisions of the dataset are hence unlikely to provide much insight, since they cannot cater for these various sources of complexity. A fuzzy classification scheme computes grades of membership in different clusters rather than providing information on mere membership, and can thus reflect the expected complexity of multiple and intertwined patterns (for a more detailed elaboration, see Derudder and Witlox, 2002).

This cluster technique has been applied to a subset of our data matrix. Not all 315 cities studied are well integrated into the world city network so that the matrix is very sparse in places. Hence we select only cities above a threshold sum of service values set at 20. This leaves 234 cities, thus still covering an unusually large number of cities for analysis. Of these 77 are European cities, which will be our main focus in the next section. However we must emphasis again that the analysis is global in scope, we are considering European cities within the world city network.

One feature of the analysis is that there is a choice in the number of clusters designated. Clearly, different numbers of clusters yield different substantive results and this is a problem because we have no firm theoretical basis for selecting the number of clusters. Here, we focus on the results for 22 clusters. This is a pragmatic choice after assessing several solutions of different numbers of classes. An important consideration is that with this large number we are able to capture a broad diversity in hierarchical and regional patterns in the world city network. However, the final decision on the number was made on the basis of finding a classification that is pregnant with many insightful interpretations for us to deliver.

For each of the 22 clusters we have identified four sets of cities, based on their cluster affiliations:

  • The cluster nucleus is made up of those cities with affiliations above 0.7. Cities in the cluster nucleus are unambiguously assigned to this cluster. They largely define its nature.
  • Singular members are cities with affiliations between 0.3 and 0.7 and with no membership higher than 0.3 in another cluster. Singular member cities are unambiguously assigned to the cluster, albeit that their profile differs somewhat from the 'typical' profiles of the cities in the cluster nucleus.
  • Hybrid members are cities with a membership degree of over 0.3 in more than one cluster, and are therefore not unambiguously assigned to the profiles set out in the cluster nucleus. Rather, they have an in-between profile that bears similarities with both clusters.
  • Near isolates are cities that have no affiliation as high as 0.3 in any cluster. Near isolates have thus very distinct profiles; here we assign them to the cluster in which they have the highest affiliation.

We term these clusters, the combination of core, singular, hybrid members and near isolates, urban arenas. We use this term because the classification brings together cities with similar profiles of global service firms: the latter can be said to define common arenas of cities in which they practice their businesses. Thus our fuzzy analysis defines 22 urban arenas across the world. European cities appear in 12 of these arenas and this is the subject matter of the remainder of this paper.


The contents of the 22 urban arenas, including the 12 that have European city members, are described in detail in Derudder et al (2003). Here we take a different approach to the depiction by identifying different types of arenas that feature European cities.

III.1. Three Types of Urban Arena

From a European perspective the urban arenas that interest us have three distinctive forms. These are identified in terms of their contribution to Europe's porosity.

First, there is a distinction between what we might call 'route arenas' and 'areal arenas'. The former are not limited to cities in one part of the world but are constituted by major cities that link together different world regions. There are three such 'global route arenas' and their cities are listed in Table 1.

The areal arenas include only cities in the same part of the world. With respect to European cities, these can be divided into two further types. There are arenas that just include European cities; there are six 'European urban arenas' shown in Table 2.

The final category includes cities on the periphery of Europe that are linked to cities in an adjacent region, specifically the Middle East. These are transregional arenas rather than global ones. There is also a 'Commonwealth arena' that is included in this type: it includes British and 'old' Commonwealth cities. We may interpret this as adjacent in 'cultural regional space' so that we interpret the arena as transregional rather than global. This interpretation is discussed further below. Cities in the three transregional urban arenas are listed in Table 3.

III.2. Global Route Arenas

Contemporary porous Europe is largely, but not exclusively, the product of the global route arenas. This is shown in Figure 1 where the arenas are ordered vertically by the average levels of global network connectivity of their member cities. Clearly the global route cities stand out at the top of this figure linking Europe to important cities in other world regions.

Global Route 1 involving just London and New York as the world's two leading world cities is the hierarchical centre of the world city network (Derudder et al 2003). Complementary rather than rivals, London and New York between them dominate the provision of advanced producer services across the world. This finding is counter to the common identification of a trio of global cities - New York, London plus Tokyo - at the apex of a world city hierarchy. The latter conception derives from the seminal work of Sassen (1991) supported by Friedmann (1995). However, our finding here is consistent with other analyses of the world city network (Taylor 2004): Tokyo only approaches the level of New York and London in banking/ finance, when other services are added to the world city definition, as in this analysis, Tokyo falls from the top rung of global service centres. Thus Global Route 1 is a global city duo connecting the two largest sections of the world economy, the US and EU economic areas. Previously we have designated this arena "Main Street, World Economy" (Derudder et al 2003).

In Global Route 2 Paris and Frankfurt operate as international financial centres linking Europe to the three great banking cities of Pacific Asia, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. Combined with Route 1, this route arena places European cities at the centre of the trilateral core of the contemporary world economy (northern America, western Europe and Pacific Asia). This is reinforced by the fact that there is no equivalent US-Pacific Asia route arena among the 22 urban arenas identified in the full analysis (Derudder et al , 2003). This finding is consistent with other analyses that show that, in general, EU cities are more connected to cities in Pacific Asia than are US cities (Taylor and Lang 2003).

Global Route 3 is perhaps surprising. In previous studies Latin America is identified as the leading globalizing region outside the trilateral core (Beaverstock et al 1999, 2000) with Miami as the prime extra-regional link (Brown et al 2001; Taylor et al 2002c; Taylor 2004). Here we find the next layer of European cities, with southern Europe now represented, forming one end of a route leading across to major cities in the 'other' America. The appearance of the international financial centre of Zurich in this route rather than the previous one is consistent with its financial servicing bias to third world cities (Taylor 2003b). This finding consolidates the centrality of European cities in the world city network: with the sole exception of a Miami link, there are no other Latin America route arenas (Derudder et al 2003).

Note that two cities, Brussels and Barcelona, are hybrids appearing in both Global Route 2 and 3 (Table 1 and Figure 1). These cities are linked in both directions. However, note also that this hybridity between the other routes only goes to emphasize the total distinctiveness of Global Route 1; it is the only arena out of 22 that consists of just a cluster nucleus. Global Route 1 is a truly exceptional global city dyad.

III.3. Areal Urban Arenas

Four of the European areal arenas are national in scope and encompass the three main 'national economies' of the EU: Germany, France and the UK. With Frankfurt much less dominant in Germany than London and Paris are in their countries, there are four important German cities that form the areal arena in Europe with the highest global network connectivity (Table 2 and Figure 1). The other three national urban arenas, a second German arena and ones for the UK and France have low average connectivities and reflect concentration of network connectivity in other cities in their respective economic areas. Note that cities from smaller 'national economies' do not form arenas in this analysis and some are distributed among the three minor national arenas; Dutch cities link to the German arena, Swiss cities to the French arena, with some Spanish cities as 'British-French hybrids' (Table 2).

However there are two strongly transnational European arenas both of which reflect patterns previously uncovered by Taylor and Hoyler (2000). First, there is a distinctive eastern European arena including major cities from former COMECON countries (Table 2, Figure 1). With new incorporation into the world economy this arena was a special 'global region of economic opportunity' in the 1990s creating specific service profiles: financial and legal firms in particular were attracted to these cities in order to facilitate foreign investment in state privatizations. As such this is a distinctive arena with no hybrids. Interestingly there is one city in this arena without a COMECON history: Vienna. This inclusion suggests that we are picking up a renewal of Vienna's pre-COMECON role as an economic gateway to Eastern Europe.

The second strongly transnational European arena replicates the 'outer' cluster identified by Taylor and Hoyler (2000). Including Scandinavian and Mediterranean cities, the cluster as defined here includes minor eastern European cities not included in the previous arena (Table 2). But the most interesting feature of this arena is to be found in its hybrid members where we find overlaps to arenas outside Europe. Two Middle Eastern arenas include outer European cities (Table 3). The two arenas are distinguished by their different levels of global network connectivity (Figure 1) and this is reflected in their European membership (Table 3). This illustrates another, albeit relatively minor, dimension of Europe's porosity.

Finally, we come to the unique 'cultural areal' arena that encompasses cities from the 'old' Commonwealth (Table 3). The continuation of this historical political link into contemporary economic globalization processes is something that commonly appears in world city network analyses (see Taylor et al 2002b; Taylor 2004). Although dominated by Australian and Canadian cities, it includes three British cities as hybrid members (Table 3, Figure 1) and thus represents another minor aspect of porous Europe in the world city network.

III.4. Beyond the European Spine

In the original Taylor and Hoyler (2000) analysis, the hierarchical tendency in inter-city relations was represented by a division of Europe's central urban zone into 'major spine' and 'minor spine' cities. Because this result was based upon a relatively comprehensive and sophisticated analysis it was deemed to be a better representation of the spatial order of Europe's cities than many previous descriptions derived from much simpler identifications of spatial patterns. But depicting the patterning of inter-city relations within Europe can only be a first step in understanding how Europe's cities operate as world cities. Simply invoking the concept of world city means that we must extend our vision beyond Europe. This what the new analysis has achieved.

Basically what we have shown is that many of the 'major spine cities' form global urban arenas with major world cities in other world regions. In contrast the minor spine cities tend to belong to urban arenas of national inter-city relations. This implies that hierarchical and regional tendencies have the propensity to interact, i.e. urban arenas with low average connectivity tend to be more regionally restricted in membership. In addition cities outside the European spine form urban arenas with neighbouring non-European cities. In hindsight this is all very predictable. However these 'unsurprising' results are important for two reasons. First, they provide some initial empirical precision to the ordering of inter-city relations within and without Europe. Second, and arguable more crucial, is the fact that the analysis sets European cities within the larger context of the world city network. As we argued in the introduction, under conditions of contemporary globalization it is somewhat disingenuous to consider European cities separate from world cities in other regions. Understanding London's role in the world without consideration of New York is simply impossible. Furthermore, these results allow us to draw a new and distinctive conclusion about the nature of Europe through the relations of its cities.


We began this paper by querying the notion that some European cities were 'un-European' because many of their primary connections lay outside Europe. The analysis above has turned this idea on its head. Leading European world cities are specifically distinguished through their forming global urban arenas. In other words, being prominent contributors to global urban arenas is an important feature of being a leading European city. Thus, contrary to the 'un-European' label, London and other leading cities define what it is to be a European world city in the world city network: European cities are highly cosmopolitan in their inter-city relations.

European world cities define a porous Europe. This finding is potentially significant: we have added a particular contemporary circumstance to Castells (1993, p. 256) argument that the specificity of the European city tradition should serve Europe well in the new global space of flows. If indeed the future world economy becomes a three way regional contest between USA, EU and Japan/Pacific Asia, then the porosity described above takes on particular salience. In the complete analysis reported in Derudder et al (2003) it is clear that European cities are much more cosmopolitan in their membership of urban arenas than cities from any other region. This is particularly the case in comparison to leading US world cities (Taylor and Lang 2003). In practice this means that European world cities have added an extra layer of complexity to their inter-city relations. Increased complexity can translate into more business options for riding world economic downturns and a wider range of economic opportunities for the taking when economic fortunes revive. In other words a robust global dimension to a city's relations is not a certain recipe for success but it does provide a favourable context to forge such achievement. Hence we can conclude from our analysis that, since it is city economies that ultimately sustain world regional competition (Jacobs 1984; Taylor 2004), the medium term economic outlook for Europe is optimistic.


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1. The starting point for the selection of the so-called "GaWC-100" was to find basic information on where major service firms are present in order to select those firms pursuing a global strategy. Using experience from previous experiments in this field, a firm was deemed to be pursuing a global locational strategy when it has offices in at least 15 different cities including one or more cities in each of the prime globalization arenas: northern America, western Europe and Pacific Asia (as identified in Beaverstock et al., 1999). Having met this condition, the selection of firms was based upon (i) rankings showing the top firms in different sectors and (ii) the availability of information on their office network (Taylor et al., 2002a).

2. A few of the larger firms have branches in many hundreds, even thousands, of cities and towns. The data collection has been restricted to the more important cities for two reasons. The first is analytical: the more cities included the more sparse the final matrix will become with nearly all the GaWC 100 networks not present in the smaller cities and towns. The second is theoretical: the interest is in the more important inter-city relations, ultimately the world city network. Nevertheless, it is also important not to omit any possible significant node in the world city network so that a relatively large number of cities need to be selected. Additionally, it is necessary to ensure that all continents are reasonably represented. The final selection of cities is based upon previous experiments and includes the capital cities of all but the smallest states plus numerous other cities of economic importance. The resulting set consists of 315 cities.

Table 1: Global Route Arenas

City type




Cluster nucleus


New York


Hong Kong








Sao Paulo

Mexico City

Singular members



Buenos Aires


Hybrid members






Near isolates


Table 2: European Urban Arenas

City type







Cluster nucleus






St Petersbg

















Singular members



















Hybrid members



















Near isolates








The Hague





Table 3: Transregional Urban Arenas

City type




Cluster nucleus









Tel Aviv



Singular members





Cape Town












Hybrid members
























Near isolates






Abu Dhabi

Figure 1: 

Figure 1

Edited and posted on the web on 29th October 2003; last update 24th May 2004

Note: This Research Bulletin has been published in Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 95 (5), 527-538