It’s official – London is the most powerful city on the planet. According to this year’s Global Power Index, there’s no better place to work or live when you weigh up our economy and culture.

london-global-city                                                 london

London = a global city

London´s leading role as a global city

It´s time for London to leave the UK

What impact do global cities have on people´s everyday lives?


On Friday 5 December 1952, a thick yellow smog brought the capital to a standstill for four days and is estimated to have killed more than 4,000 people. London’s air may appear much cleaner today, but is still dangerously polluted. The coal pollution that caused the infamous ‘pea soupers’ has been replaced by invisible pollution – mainly from traffic fumes – resulting in 13,000 early deaths each year in the UK and 4,300 in London

60 years since the great smog of London

The pea-souper : It killed Londoners in droves, and inspired writers and artists from Melville to Monet: an atmospheric exploration of pollution in the capital

London. (….) Implacable November weather, (…) Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes – gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun (…) Foot passengers, jostling one another´s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and loosing their foot.hold at streets corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke) …

Charles Dickens, Bleak House, Chapter 2, 1852

It was a foggy day in London, and the fog was heavy and dark. Animate London, with smarting eyes and irritated lungs, was blinking, whezzing, and choking; inanimate London was a sooty spectre, divided in purpose between being visible and invisible, and so being wholly neither (..) Even in the surrounding country it was a foggy day, but there the fog was grey, whereas in London it was, at about the boundary line, dark yellow, and a little within brown, and then browner, and then browner, until at the heart of the city – which call Saint Mary Axe – it was rusy-black.

Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friends, 1865.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870), is considered to be one of the greatest writers of the 19th century: He lived in London. The rapidly growing industrial environment of the time served as a bachground to most of his novels : Little Dorrit, David Copperfield, The Adevntures of Oliver Twist. He is famous for his realistic depiction of the poverty and pollution that were generated by the industrial revolution.


The growth of global cities have brought a wealth of culture, linguistic and ethnic diversity, helping to enrich everyday life and open new possibilities of exchange. However, the needs of such dense population have led to serious problems in terms of environment. From the slums and fog of Victorian London to the Great Smog of 1952 and the current issue of traffic pollution, global cities struggle to find solutions to reduce their carbon footprint and improve urban living conditions.

Will global cities find a way to create sustainable environment in the future?






What does this expression make you think of?

Can you give some examples?

What can you find in most global cities?

What do they have in common? In terms of culture? Business? Services? Population? Architecture?


•Function as a key point in the global world economy
•Prominence of business and financial services
•Importance of global communication for the exchance of information
•Development of a global culture
  • a large population
  • international financial institutions, law firms, corporate headquarters, stock
  • exchanges that have influence on the world economy, an advanced communication infrastructure
  • several international cultures and communities
  • a major international airport that provides flights to different parts of the world
  • an advanced transportation system that offers multiple modes of transportation
  • a lively cultural scene, including film festivals, a thriving music or
    theater scene, art galleries and street performers, cultural institutions such as museums and universities several powerful and influential media outlets with an international reach



  • New York is a populous and diverse city with a population of 8.274.527
  • ¨melting pot¨ : 36% of the city`s population is foreign born
  • New York City is the top international air passenger gateway to the US Transportation:more than 12.000 yellow cabs
  • the New York City Subway: open 24 hours per day
¨Culture seems to be in the air, like part of the weather.¨ (Tom Wolfe)
  • A network of major cultural institutions such as Metropolitan Museum of Art ,The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
  • Universities: New York is home to many universities such as    Columbia University, New York University…
  • Media: New York is a global center for the television, music and newspaper industries.
  • New York is a major center for international affairs.
  • It is home to the United Nations headquartes complex.
  • Many major corporations are headquartered in New York City
  • New York: one of the three ¨command centers¨ for the world economy
  • One of the key cities in global communication
  • New York Stock Exchange
According to Saskia Sassen  (Dutch-American sociologist noted for her analyses of globalization and international human migration.  Sassen coined the term Global city)
– global cities fulfill coordinating roles and functions rather than competing against each other
– New York: major center for financial innovation
– London: international banking and financial center
– Paris: global financial center due to the structural features of its banking and financial system
 – London, Paris and Tokyo: national govermental capitals, but New York is not.
 – London, New York, Paris and Tokyo are all attractive cities for tourists, but the type of tourists is different.
  • Social polarization
In Sassen`s view: the economic structure of the global city leads to social polarization,
as the leading sectors employ a group of extraordinarily high earning individuals and create a demand for low-paid service workers.
  • High cost of living
  • High competition for top positions
  • Stress

MYTHS AND HEROES -Quelle problematique?


How to present the notion Myths and heroes ?

In the title Myths and heroes, we have two terms MYTHS and HEROES, so you´ll have to explain both. Both terms are intrinsically linked since a myth is a fiction or half-truth in which the hero (fictious or real) is the central character.

What you need to know to understand the notion

– The hero embodies (incarnates) universal values such as courage, honesty, justice, generosity, selflessness,  etc..

-These values are part of a country´s culture and are important for its people. (ie: the US dream)

-There are many ways of representing a myth (legends, media, cinema, statues, symbols..)

Think of the documents you have studied in class and enrich your presentation with a personal document to show your personal knowledge.

How to formulate your key question?

Problématiser, c’est se poser une question dont la réponse prête à discussion, une question à laquelle on ne peut pas répondre par oui ou par non, une question qui nous interpelle ; c’est une question qui pousse à la réflexion, qui nous invite à définir  les liens avec la notion et les documents choisis ; c’est une question qui suscite un raisonnement et ouvre sur  d’autres questions.

Therefore, your question should start with :

Why ? To what extent ? How ?

Ask yourself whether/why/how

A given person (a historical figure, a celebrity, an everyday person..) can be considered as a hero ? if not why? Does he/she is part of a myth?

 In order to find a key question (problematique) in relation to the notion of Myths and Heroes  ask yourself the following questions ?

To what extent can the characters studied in class be seen as heroes?

What values do they incarnate/embody/represent?

In which context have they emerged?

Is this the original myth or a parody, a modern interpretation?

How to illustrate the notion Myths and Heroes ?

San Francisco/ New York – How does a city become  a myth/a legend? (Also to link with Spaces and Exchanges)

Famous leaders/artists in UK/US: –

Why do  people need a leader to organize their fight? (Also to be related to Power and seats of power)

To what extent are iconic symbols necessary to lead people? (Also to be related to Power and seats of power)

To what extend have engaged artists helped improve the situation for …… ? (Also to be related to Power and seats of power)


What can explain the popularity of the fantasy genre?

The American Dream

To what extent is the myth still alive ? (Immigration – Spaces and exchanges)


You will find more key questions in my post ¨Myths and Heroes published a few months ago.










  • A man/woman distingued by exceptional courage, nobility, fortitude…
  • Someone who is idealized for possessing superior qualities (
  • A being who is endowed with extraordinary strength and courage, often of divine ancestry, who is celebrated for his bold exploits
  • The protagonist character in a novel, film, play..
  • A person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal
  • A person who has braved death, who has risked or sacrified his or her life

heroes  – vocabulary to help you define a hero