FORBES – AUG 14, 2014
The World’s Most Influential Cities – Joel Kotkin , CONTRIBUTOR
In the past century, the greatest global cities were generally the largest and centers of the world’s great empires: London, Paris, New York and Tokyo. Today size is not so important: Of the world’s 10 most populous cities, only Tokyo, New York and Beijing are in the top 10 of our ranking of the world’s most important cities. Instead, what matters today is influence.
In order to quantify cities’ global influence, we looked at eight factors: the amount of foreign direct investment they have attracted; the concentration of corporate headquarters; how many particular business niches they dominate; air connectivity (ease of travel to other global cities); strength of producer services; financial services; technology and media power; and racial diversity. We found those factors particularly important in identifying rising stars that, someday, might challenge the current hegemony of our two top-ranked global cities, London and New York.
London, which after more than a century of imperial decline still ranks No. 1 in our survey. The United Kingdom may now be a second-rate power, but the City’s unparalleled legacy as a global financial capital still underpins its pre-eminence.
Ranked first in the world on the Z/Yen Group’s 2013 Global Financial Centres Index, which we used for our list, London not only has a long history as a dominant global financial hub, but its location outside the United States and the eurozone keeps it away from unfriendly regulators. Compared to New York, it is also time-zone advantaged for doing business in Asia, and has the second best global air connections of any city after Dubai, with nonstop flights at least three times a week to 89% of global cities outside of its home region of Europe.
A preferred domicile for the global rich, London is not only the historic capital of the English language, which contributes to its status as a powerful media hub and major advertising center, but it’s also the birthplace of the cultural, legal and business practices that define global capitalism. London hosts the headquarters of 68 companies on the 2012 Forbes Global 2000 list and is a popular location for the regional HQs of many multinationals. Beyond these traditional strengths, London has become Europe’s top technology startup center, according to the Startup Genome project. The city has upward of 3,000 tech startups as well as Google’s largest office outside Silicon Valley.
New York, which comes in a close second in our study (40 points to London’s 42), is home to most of the world’s top investment banks and hedge funds, and the stock trading volume on the city’s exchanges is nearly four times that of second place Tokyo and more than 10 times that of London.
Like London, New York is a global leader in media and advertising, the music industry (home to two of the big three labels), and also one of the most important capitals of the fashion and luxury business. With iconic landmarks galore, international visitors spend more money in New York each year than in any other city in the world.
The Challengers And Those Slowly Fading
London and New York are clearly the leaders but they are not the hegemonic powers that they were throughout much of the 20th century, and their main competitors are now largely from
outside Europe. Paris may rank third in our survey, but it is way below New York and London by virtually every critical measure, and the city’s future is not promising given that France, and much of the EU, are mired in relative economic stagnation.
Rather than a true indication of global reach, Paris’ high ranking is partly the product of the city’s utter domination of the still sizable French economy and the concentration of virtually all the country’s leading companies there Elsewhere, Europe boast a veritable archipelago of globally competitive cities — Munich, Rome, Hamburg — but none is large enough, or unique enough, to break into the top 10 in the future. East Asia is likely to place more cities at the top of the list.
Full List: The World’s Most Influential Cities
For most of the last century, Tokyo has been Asia’s leading city. It is still the world’s largest city, with the largest overall GDP. In her seminal work on world cities, Saskia Sassen placed it on the same level as London and New York. Tokyo’s limitations resemble those of Paris — its high ranking stems partly from the extreme concentration of domestic companies — and it will be handicapped in the future by a severe demographic crisis, a lack of ethnic diversity and very determined regional rivals.
This text is a good example of how you can relate a document to several notions.
SPACES AND EXCHANGES: Global cities as new spaces/exchanges
The growth of global cities has brought a wealth of cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity, allowing people to enrich their everyday life and open them to new possibilities of exchange. (magnet for nationals and foreigners – diversity of language and culture – top universities – job opportunities)
How have global cities created new spaces and new exchanges?
Why do global cities depend on exchanges?
What impact do global cities have on people´s everyday lives?
How global cities, as geographical spaces, can have an impact on people and exchanges?
POWER AND SEATS OF POWER : Global cities as seats of power
Concentration of powers (economic, cultural, financial, political) – Global cities=leaders in the world economy – international marketplaces – dynamic hubs – top universities)
To what extent are global cities seats of power?
IDEA OF PROGRESS : Global cities and progress (social, economic)
The growth og global cities has brought wealth of culture, linguistic and etnic diversity. However such dense populations have led to serious environmental problems. (urban issues: overcrowding- slums- pollution – litter- congestion))
Will global cities find a way to create a sustainable and clean environment for the future?
Can we considered global cities as symbols of progress?