Changing Urban and Regional Relations in a Globalizing World

Changing Urban and Regional Relations in a Globalizing World

Europe as a Global Macro-Region

Edited by Kathy Pain and Gilles Van Hamme

In this important book, Kathy Pain and Gilles Van Hamme bring together a prestigious group of contributors to provide a systematic assessment of the dynamic, multi-scale network restructuring and spaces of flows associated with globalization that have shaped Europe’s contemporary position in the world during the past decade.

Chapter 5: European cities in global networks

César Ducruet, Violaine Jurie, Marine Le Cam, Kathy Pain, Maude Sainteville and Sandra Vinciguerra

Subjects: geography, cities, economic geography, human geography, urban and regional studies, cities, regional studies, urban studies


The twin processes of metropolitanization and global economic integration identified in the urban literature of the late twentieth century have brought to the fore the vital role of cities in economic globalization. As first observed in the US (Jacobs, 1969, 1970), cities have become increasingly important to economic growth far beyond their metropolitan boundaries. Major cities today play a central role in the global economy in that they concentrate major economic functions and are the main gateways between national or macro-regional economies and the rest of the world. In the context of economic globalization, these gateway functions, which are the subject of this and the next three chapters of the book, are thus of strategic importance for the European economy as a whole. First, cities are hosts to major infrastructures such as airports and ports, allowing the exchange of goods, people and services across the world (Boschken, 1988; Derudder and Witlox, 2005). In this sense, cities are the physical gateways of the global economy, thus we examine the importance of global networks for ports and airports (see also O'Connor, 2010). Second, cities host the commanding functions in an increasingly globalized economy (Alderson et al., 2004), hence not only at a national but mainly at a global level they concentrate the top headquarter functions in global value chains (Coe et al., 2004, 2008; Gereffi and Korzeniewicz, 1994) and also direct critically important stock exchange flows.

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