Research into ‘world cities’ has helped rooting (urban) geography in globalization debates. The world city literature focuses on a broad range of topics, and adopts very different ontologies, epistemologies, and methodologies. In spite of this multiplicity, the literature collectively deepens and extends our understanding of how (1) specific cities function as key platforms in the organization of a globalized economy/society; and (2) how this impacts socio-spatial changes within those cities. Nonetheless, because the literature lacks a central paradigm, even the most widely cited contributions are best understood as specific building blocks within an increasingly diverse literature on cities in globalization. The chapter reviews key conceptualizations of world cities and how these have become increasingly extended and contested; the main spatiotemporal and organizational dimensions of world city-formation; discusses a mapping of world cities based on the geographies of the office networks of producer services firms; and charts major future research agendas.
Ben Derudder and Peter J. Taylor
This chapter provides a conceptual, methodological and empirical overview of urban-geographical research on the global connectivities of cities. We clarify how conceptual writings on ‘world’ and ‘global’ cities have helped to shape this research agenda, which is now of key importance in urban geography. This is followed by a discussion of how the methodological question of measuring global urban connectivity has been tackled in an increasingly diverse literature. Zooming in on the approach developed in the context of the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) research network, we provide an empirical discussion of the geographies of global urban connectivity produced by globalized producer services firms, maritime services firms, and non-governmental organizations.