The pivotal nodes in the world city network are global cities—cities of supreme strategic value in global economy and politics, science and technology, culture, and society. Global Cities: Past, Present and Future explores the evolution of global cities—their formation, rise, development and tendencies. This book summarizes and interprets global tendencies and also puts forward a theoretical framework that will help researchers understand these cities better. It also makes a compelling case for understanding every city in terms of evolutionary dynamics. The first eight chapters of the book discuss the ontology of global city evolution and patterns, forms and trends of development. The last two chapters study the case of Shanghai, which aims to build itself into an important global city by 2050. This case study illustrates the shaping of a new type of global city that demonstrates new characteristics of the globalized space.

Evolutionary Dynamics
Evolutionary dynamics

Global cities are composed of multiple agents (institutions) interacting across the globe in a multiplicity of connected ways and subjected to a great deal of noises—precisely the conditions for complex, adaptive and evolutionary patterns of change. More specifically, as the change of cities demonstrate multiple dimensions of complexity, which involve dispersed interaction, the interlinking of hierarchies at different levels, perpetual novelty, continual adaption, self-organization and out-of-equilibrium dynamics, the study of the evolutionary dynamics of global cities needs to take into consideration the dynamics arguments that cover all the related subjects, such as contingency, stochastic drift, adaptive selection, self-organizing and non-linear processes.

Framework of Dynamics

Global cities, whose evolution is based on the ontological supposition of the ‘organism’, can be regarded as a ...

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