The World According to GaWC: Climate Emergency Edition 2021

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Since 2000 GaWC has been monitoring cities in globalization as a world city network of financial, professional and creative services that collectively facilitate corporate globalization. “The World according to GaWC” has been one outcome of this research whereby cities are ordered in terms of their Global Network Connectivity, aka their contribution to facilitating corporate globalization. But there are many other ways of understanding contemporary cities in globalization. There is now an urgent need to begin to monitor the role of cities in global climate change: hence this new 2021 edition.

It has to be stated up front that the results of this new ordering of cities are in total contrast to the positioning of cities in the world city network. In the latter a classification of cities in Alpha, Beta, and Gamma categories marked the success of cities in their corporate roles. In the new classification there is no equivalent success of cities in facing the climate emergency. Rather all cities are found wanting and therefore the classification has to be marked using the other end of the Greek alphabet: Omega, Psi, and Chi.

We live in a world where rankings of all manner of things are popular and generate discussion. In the case of our previous city rankings we know that many people check their own city and then react from a parochial perspective without understanding how the ranking is produced. We hope this will not be the case here. The ranking we have produced is very unusual, totally dominated by ‘surprises’, and in such a situation discussion and disputation really does need an informed basis. After the rankings there are notes on both the methodology used and the meaning of the results, how they are to be interpreted.

Climate emergency classification of cities 2021

Notes on the climate emergency classification of cities 2021 [pdf]

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