Comparing world city networks: a network analysis of Internet backbone and air transport intercity linkages



Abstract The research looks at the structure of the Internet backbone and air transport networks between 82 cities in 2002, using Internet backbone bandwidth and air passenger traffic data. Centrality measures on individual city's hierarchy in the Internet and in the air traffic networks were significantly correlated, with London in the most dominant position in both networks. A quadratic assignment procedure (QAP) showed a structural equivalence between two systems. The division and membership of the clusters in both networks also showed similarity; both networks had a strongly cohesive North American-European cluster with the London-New York dyad as the strongest linkage in the global flow of information and people. These findings suggest that current trends in Internet infrastructure concentration reproduce and maintain global inequality and hierarchy among world cities.