Specification of the World City Network

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Abstract

World cities are generally deemed to form an urban system or city network but these are never explicitly specified in the literature. In this paper the world city network is identified as an unusual form of network with three levels of structure: cities as the nodes, the world economy as the supranodal network level, and advanced producer service firms forming a critical subnodal level. The latter create an interlocking network through their global location strategies for placing offices. Hence, it is the advanced producer service firms operating through cities who are the prime actors in world city network formation. This process is formally specified in terms of four intercity relational matrices—elemental, proportional, distance, and asymmetric. Through this specification it becomes possible to apply standard techniques of network analysis to world cities for the first time. In a short conclusion the relevance of this world city network specification for both theory and policy-practice is briefly discussed.

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