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World Cities

  • By: Björn Surborg
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

A world city is a dominant place in the global economy with a disproportionately large share of the world's business functions, especially capital commanding functions, but the term dates back to at least the beginning of the 19th century, when Goethe used it to describe cities of overwhelming political and cultural importance. Within the contemporary study of geography, however, world cities are usually defined as centers with a very large proportion of command-and-control functions within the global economy (Figure 1). These are most commonly measured as large concentrations of producer services, including banking and financial services, insurance, real estate, legal services, accounting, and professional associations. World cities are also highly dependent on each other for investment and other business activities, creating a world city network. ...

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