What are globalizing cities?

O'Donoghue, D. (2016) What are globalizing cities? In: IGU Urban Commission Meeting 2016, 15th-20th August, 2016, East China Normal University, Shanghai. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

While the governance of large cities around the world is of great importance it would appear that the term “GLOBALIZING CITIES” needs further consideration and needs to be contested. I will construct my abstract as a series of questions as direct response to the use of the term in the above quotation.
• What do we mean be the term globalizing city? Is it a specific type of city in its own right or is it a term that describes a city that is in the PROCESS of becoming a Global City. Does this imply they are mainly from the developing world?
• It is noted that these globalizing cities have played an important role in NATIONAL and REGIONAL economies. Is this enough for a city to be considered as Globalizing? Just because a city is an emerging metropolis does that make it a Globalizing city?
• Just because these cities face challenges does that mark them somehow as special? Surely we need to understand how they face different challenges to other urban places and that these should be global in nature.
• Do these Globalizing cities have to be “ungovernable”, or is that a key characteristic of these cities?
• It is implied that the immensity, complexity and heterogeneity of stakeholders and interest groups involved is somehow important to our understanding of these places. Is that necessarily the case?

In order to identify and assess what we mean by the term “globalizing city” we need to remind ourselves of the existing literature on world cities and global cities. It seems to me that there is a strong association between size and globalizing cities that will only confuse the issue further. Whereas the term “Globalizing city” is what Markusen might identify as quite a “fuzzy” concept there is a certain precision and distinctiveness to the terms “world city” and “global city” particularly regarding the factors that make these places distinct and how they are identified. The work of Hall, Freidman, Wolff, Sassen, Beaverstock, Derudder, and Taylor, just to name a few, needs to be reviewed so that we can clearly remind ourselves of where we are going with this terminology. Might we be able to apply the approaches, measures and methods used by those authors to our understanding of globalizing cities. Alternatively, are those measures and methods too restrictive and inflexible to help us identify a different group of cities? Can we identify ways in which these places are truly distinctive? One might even argue that all cities are globalizing, or that cities might only be considered “globalizing” when certain criteria are met.
I have no doubt globalizing cities can serve as ideal laboratories to explore the thematic foci of the IGU urban commission, but firstly we need to identify what they are and where they are. Only when we can identify that might we consider their socioeconomic significance and politico-economic position in the global urban hierarchy, and what particular urban challenges and complexities they are facing. Only then might we identify their trajectories and allow us to understand their role in a truly global sense.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General) > G0140 Great cities of the world
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Daniel Donoghue
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2016 09:37
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 09:37
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/14972

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00