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 9: Territorial performance and position in the global economy

Kathy Pain, Gilles Van Hamme and Sandra Vinciguerra

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


Territorial competitiveness has become a ubiquitous feature of neo-liberal strategy in contemporary economic globalization. The focus on 'world' and 'global' cities as dominant forces in late twentieth-century capitalism in the social sciences literature, drew attention to a direct association between the economic performance and power of major cities and their hierarchical position and centrality in the increasingly networked global economy (Friedmann, 1986; Sassen, 1991). Innovative research has subsequently attempted to measure and map the positions of cities in this new economy and the contribution of diverse urban functions to differential network connectivity - transnational corporation (TNC) headquarters (HQ), air, maritime, and so on (Beaverstock et al., 2000; Taylor 2004; Alderson et al., 2010; Orozco Pereira and Derudder, 2010; Rozenblat and Pflieger, 2010). Given Porter's influential, policy-directed focus on the 'competitive advantage' of nation states and their cities (1990, 1995, 1998a and b), it is therefore hardly a surprise that it has come to be widely assumed that the relative positions of cities in global networks are a proxy for their economic success, impacting also on countries' balance of payments in the volatile globalized economy (Rowthorn and Coutts, 2004). There has been increasing consensus around the view that 'a country's economic fortunes are largely determined by its success on world markets' (Krugman, 1997, p. 5) and that this success is highly dependent upon the specialized activities of global businesses which are represented in cities to different degrees.

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