What makes a city “global”?
Nowadays globalization occurs in places where a mass of people work and live in cities. However, for a city to achieve the title of being global, it must have values and ideas that will have an impact of the rest of the world. “ Global city is a term that raises an understanding for the cognoscenti” (Low, 2005: p218). Low (2005) further says that a global city is a city that is well thought out to be an important node in the world’s economic system. A global city has wealth, power and influence to other countries as well as hosts the largest capital markets. Moreover, a city that has wealthy multinational companies, good infrastructure, better economy, well-educated and diverse populations and powerful organizations as well as a good political structure that are linked to the other parts of the world like nowhere else is considered to be global (Badcock, 2002: p31). A global city, therefore, is the world’s most important and influential city that covers the dimensions of the globalization. These dimensions are cultural experience, business activity, human capital as well as political engagement. London, New York, Paris, Rome and Tokyo are one of the most well-known global cities as it provides global competitiveness for its citizens and companies.
There are several ways in which a city can be considered as a global city. Firstly, a city should have a combination of powerful, strong and unique culture, style and history. This is because culture is one of important businesses in a city that provides many tourist attractions. Rome for instance, has been very powerful and influential in the development of world culture. It is one of the richest and dynamic cities in Europe. During the previous years, cultures in Rome have been contained within its borders. However, as the rate of communication increases due to globalization, the culture in Rome is now rapidly mixed on a global scale. A culture may not necessarily mean the traditions and values in that particular city but also the art, food and architecture. Moreover, culture has become an economic machine where by it has a variety of activities through its traditional and modern appeal like the Roman Catholic Church in Rome (Taylor, 2004: p57). In addition, Rome actually influences the world on the subjects of culture, religion and architecture and it is worldwide known as a center of arts. Due to the city’s importance and influence in culture and religion, it has been nicknames as the Eternal City of the world (Taylor, 2004: p57). Most importantly fact about Rome is that it is “the main center of pilgrimage in the Christian community” (Taylor, 2004: 56p). Because of the presence of the first Roman Catholic, it has made it to be an influential city since many people especially Christians meet in that area during Easter season to experience and enjoy the traditional procession of the pope. Additionally, for a city to become global, it should have an existence of substantial and vibrant cultural economy with a high level of interconnectedness in the global cultural network. And since the city of Rome and Paris contain world heritage sites, it has a significance being a global city historically and culturally.
Secondly, a global city is a city of demographic and economic change. It contains international organizations, different firms such as law firms, headquarters for the multinational countries as well as stock exchanges that influences the world’s economy. Also, in a global city, the cost of living is better than other cities and there are a number of billionaires. For instance New York City, it is the most populous city in the United States of America. It is also the center of international business, a command center in the world’s economy and also the main center for business such as legal services, world trade, insurance, banking etc. Due to its increase in the economic growth, New York City has become the largest city in the world in terms of economy (Sassen, 2001: p39). New York City is considered to be a global city because it has powerful organizations that are linked to the other parts and many of the major corporations and multinational companies are headquartered in this city. According to Lipsitz (2010), a global city needs to have a lot of capital, information on trade, business and multinational companies. New York City has all this. Furthermore, New York City made it as a global city because it is considered as a location for one of the major centers of finance and commerce (Lipsitz, 2010). Manhattan, which is one of the districts of New York City, it is the economic heart of the city that contains many headquarters such as the United Nations which has a major influence in the world as well as the stock exchange on the Wall Street. Since the stock market is presence in New York, the city has an advantage of controlling on what goes in and out of the country. Thus, if a problem occurs in New York, it means that it will have an effect on the stock markets globally. For instance during the September attacks, there was an effect on the global economy causing the global stock markets to decrease rapidly and also caused a delay in the opening of the New York’s stock exchange when a plane crashed into the World Trade Center building. This shows that a global city has a major influence in other cities as well not just its domain city like when the New York stock exchange delayed, London, which is a global city as well, its stock exchange was evacuated.