Global Cities of Influence

An interesting article from New Geography about the power and influence of global cities: London and New York lead the top ten list, but two are in California, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

An excerpt.

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.

To rank the world’s global cities, I worked with urban geographer Ali Modarres, former Accenture analyst Aaron Renn and demographer Wendell Cox. We have attempted to go beyond some of the standard methods of evaluating the global importance of cities, which include assessing the concentration of support services available for multinationals, such as financial and accounting firms, or the size of the overall economy. Efficiency and access to capital and information, we believe, is more critical to being an important global city than number of jobs, and regional GDP is a false measure, since it doesn’t reflect whether the source is domestic or global economic activity.

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. (Click here for a more detailed description of our methodology.) 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.

Inertia and smart use of it is a key theme that emerged in our evaluation of the top global cities. No city better exemplifies this than 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. (Our HQ ranking component, in which London ranks third, is based on GaWC’s 2012 Command and Control Index, which factors in company size and financial performance, as well as total number of Forbes Global 2k HQs).

Retrieved August 15, 2014 from http://www.newgeography.com/content/004475-the-worlds-most-influential-cities

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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