The term global city alludes to authority, complexity, leadership, affluence, influence and global interconnectedness. To be called a global city means that activities and ideas stemming from the city have the ability to shape the world. Although there is no tangible method to assign this label to any one city, it is undoubtable that centres such as New York and London can lay claim. Assessed as individual metropolises, these two cities have a strong international image that incorporates diverse cultural events, lively populations and commanding business and financial clout. It is thus possible to make a number of broad observations about the nature of global cities.
1. Accra, Ghana:
Times are changing for this city on West African coast. In 1874, the city was viewed as a settlement of thatched houses with crooked streets. Now, global actors describe the cities as a globalizing city, lively with economic opportunities. At a growing rate of 4.3%, it is the fastest growing city in Africa.
The city has a long way to go. According to George Owusu, rapid urbanization and urban growth in the city is one of most difficult challenges for urbanite Ghanaians. Owusu argues that the challenge is that the housing delivery system in Accra is unable to meet high demand. This strains the existing housing stock in the city on an exponential rate. He believes that creative policies is the solution to the inadequate housing in the city. These policies must take into consideration Accra’s status as a global city.
The city recently ranked on the top 10 emerging sustainable cities to watch in 2012. I honestly believe this city has a lot of potential and deserves to be on the top of this list.
2. Gurgaon, India:
This city, which is on the edge of New Delhi, India, is the centre for Information Technology. It is also a city of exponential growth where middle class Indians are living in tall structures.
Not many of you have heard about this city. It is located in the north Indian state of Haryana and has changed profoundly in the last 15 years. Unprecedented growth in business process outsourcing and information technology enabled services (ITeS) made this city a key node that linked the country with the global economy.
The global and urbanized environment is unique. The construction of vast global spaces has changed the urban landscapes. Traditional social structures have been let go and newer class structures, based on consumption and space access, have been embraced.
Land and area wise this city-state maybe minuscule; however, real estate prospects have increasingly played an important role in the functioning of the whole economy. Singapore had enjoyed a large growth which has provided governments substantial revenues and the popula-ce with wealth. The city is known to be a property state because of these factors and its rent seeking economies.
In January of 2011, the country also took the 3rd spot on the globalization index, behind Hong Kong and Ireland. The tiny republic sits on trillions of dollars of foreign reserves. It also houses approximately 7,000 multinational corporations. Moreover, it deserves a spot on this list for evolving today as one of the most flourishing nations in the world with regard to global business.
4. Athens, Greece:
This is the urban centre of the Western Civilization. The idea of democracy was first introduced in Ancient Greece. This was a time when direct democracy was still manageable and when population was limited. Now again, all eyes are on Greece and its economic turmoil. What affects the country and its capital, is buffeting the European Union and all of us around the world. We can only wait and see whether Greece can get back on its feet.
5. New York City, United States:
A number of newly emerging and maturing global economies have emerged, giving the United States a boot kick. United States has had its bout with insecurity, becoming skeptical about its ability to compete in the global market. For example, China: It has a powerful centralized government and has powerfully focused its investments on national priorities. Given this, the United States has become worried about being left in the dust.
United States has a muddled democracy, regulated capitalism and occasional oppeness to immigration. New York, specifically, is the meeting point for what John F. Kennedy called a nation of immigrants. Nearly 40% (as of 2000) of New Yorkers were born outside of the country. This does not include the illegal immigrants and foreign diplomats, businessmen/women and tourists.
It should be further noted that New York is one of the few states to understand the centrality of immigration. Leaders across NY cities, for example, began their political campaigns with trips to the 3 Is: Italy, Ireland and Israel. It follows the traditional role of being a gathering place. It is what makes this city work.
Most recently the Occupy Wall Street resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions has garnered much attention. The protestors do not tolerate the greed and corruption of the upper class. They use revolutionary Arab Spring tactics to achieve their ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of others. This ideology has spread throughout the world and across state borders, including in Canada.
6. Toronto, Canada
At 5, 304, 0909 (2005 census), Toronto is the most populated metropolitan city in Canada. It consists of 24 municipalities, the largest being Toronto and Mississauga. Compared to Montreal and Vancouver, the city has the largest growth, coming in at 2.2% per year between 2000 and 2005. One of the main factors for population growth in Toronto is immigration.
In addition to population growth, Toronto has the largest labour market. There were 3 million workers registered in 2005. The city is still fast-growing, adding 46,000 workers on average each year since 1986. The median earnings of full timers have also grown by 4.7% between 1990 and 2000 at 40,000.
There is huge potential for the city. With Occupy Toronto protests and unpredictable economies, things are looking bluish. Hopefully things do pick-up, only time will tell.
7. Shanghai, China
This is another city to watch for in the next few years as it is booming. Economic globalization and foreign direct investment are big factors in globalization, according to Shouzhen Wang, PH.d Candidate at Xi’an Jiaotang University. Some characteristics include trade liberalization, financial securitization and production integration.
This was all made possible with the global production integration. Global production integration has allowed multinational corporations to enter the Chinese market. Things began to expand especially after China’s entry to WTO.
When speaking about Shanghai, many people must understand that the city is one of the costliest, especially the costliest to lead FDI absorption. According to a survey taken by Wang, 400 MNCs from Global 500 entered China; 256 of which chose Shanghai.
8. Sydney, Australia
Sydney has been a desired destination for business and tourism. In 2008, the city hosted 64 meetings and conferences in the top tenth of international conference locations. This was in part successful due to the accessibility of facilities in Darling Harbour. This is not just one event, Sydney was able to secure more than 70% more business events than Melbourne in 2008.
Melbourne and Sydney are at a cut-throat competition. It is likely to increase as Australia is emerging from the Global financial crisis. This has many countries filled with envy in the developed and developing world.
9. Mexico City, Mexico
This city deserves to be on the list as it is on the periphery of global players. Corporate headquarters and air traffic flows in the city are increasing on an international scale.
Mexico City is also a host of many global events, most notably the World Mayors Summit on Climate in Mexico City in November of 2010. Two ground-breaking global initiatives were launched-The Mexico City Pact and the Carbon Cities Climate Registry.
10. Tokyo, Japan
National survival is the key for this country, especially after its contact with the outside world in the 19th century. Japan has attempted to foster growth the industrial, military and diplomatic sectors. Urban projects have been a point of contention between city builders and residents, especially on the control of urban spaces. Only time will tell whether this developed country will be able to keep up with the requirements of being a global city.