International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities
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International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities

Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox

This Handbook offers an unrivalled overview of current research into how globalization is affecting the external relations and internal structures of major cities in the world.
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Chapter 11: Internet Networks of World Cities: Agglomeration and Dispersion

Edward J. Malecki


Edward J. Malecki INTRODUCTION The Internet has become an essential part of the lives and activities of businesses, governments and individual users, who have come to depend on the ready, 24/7 availability of their data and programs. These users are scattered and clustered throughout the world, and to make the programs and files of the Internet always ‘there’ requires systems and infrastructures whose locations have a material geography (Graham, 2004). ‘Far from destroying cities by making place irrelevant, the production and consumption of Internet content, and the infrastructure to support it, are concentrated in cities’ (Goldsmith and Wu, 2006, p. 56). Some cities attract greater concentrations of investment and can be identified as world cities of Internet activity. Internet infrastructure is concentrated not only in world cities but also in ‘new network cities’ (Derudder, 2008; Townsend, 2001a). Although the big players in the global Internet infrastructure are giant firms, they fall outside the sectors of advanced producer services on which research has focused (Taylor, 2004; Taylor and Aranya, 2008; Taylor et al., 2009). As a result, Internet activity in world cities has received relatively little research attention. A prominent exception is the work of Choi et al. (2006), who compare world city networks as defined by Internet backbones and air transport. Research generally has followed the lead of Graham (1999), who describes the attraction of world cities – and their concentrations of transnational corporations and financial service firms – to providers of telecommunications infrastructure. Lack of comprehensive data on actual Internet traffic...

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