HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 6 no. 2 (2006)

Cities in Globalization

Josefina Cabigon

Discipline: Social Science




This paper highlights two evidence-based views in understanding the nature of cities in globalization.  The first view is that cities are forming a world city network with a particular geography that is city-centered (command power remaining in core-located cities and network power in non-core cities) to impinge on future social change. This world city network is a part of globalization processes that are inevitable and irreversible. It is conceptualized as an interlocking network with cities as the nodes in spaces of flows linking localities in the whole network.  It constitutes the knowledge constellations for the production of services, and agencies, such as business firms, as the sub-nodal level that creates and provides the services as the prime agency of network production and reproduction.  US cities are command power centers but are always most strongly connected to other cities within the US (dominance of space of places) and less prominent in the world city network (prominence of spaces of flows) - a pattern of emerging freedom of cities, especially those in weak states. The world city network is not inherently regressive in nature; it can service global capital as well as create a new economical politics (concern for networks of trade and finance) operating through the principles of cooperation and mutuality.  

The second view is that cities are now reflecting a clear culture-economy overlap, with global cities such as New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo emerging as centers of the global economy and cultural industries and are also the prominent destinations of immigrants who tend to be vulnerable to exploitation and to congregate in enclaves. Major cities in the US are reflecting a city growth coalition of profit seekers, political leaders, and cultural institutions resulting in the economic becoming cultural and the cultural becoming economic. Marketing the city's cultural offerings aims for both consumption of culture and generation of income in the city. With world cities in globalization operating as a world city network, studying cities in terms of relations between and among cities, and the link between cities as a process, is necessary.  Research gaps such as lack of data and of studies of relations between cities as state-centric are realities. Specifically, demographers who are more known for providing populations with news expressed meaningfully in terms of numbers and rates face the problem of data that reflect relations on migration between and among cities.