New York. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
From The Wall Street Journal, by Emily Peck:
Half the world’s population lives in cities and you can expect that number to grow in the coming years, according to Foreign Policy magazine, which looks at Global Cities in its latest issue. The 21st century will be dominated by the city, writes Parag Khanna. “The age of nations is over. The new urban age has begun.”
Just 100 cities account for more than 30% of the world’s economy, Mr. Khanna writes. What’s more, the 21st century will see the rise of the megacity, “megalopolises whose populations are measures in the tens of millions, with jagged skylines that stretch as far as the eye can see.”
What qualifies as a “global city”? A large population, for starters. The magazine looked at 65 cities with populations of more than 1 million. But more important, the magazine says it “aims to measure how much sway a city has over what happens beyond its own borders.” Among other things, the magazine, working with A.T. Kearney and the Chicago Counsel on Global Affairs, looked at how many Fortune Global 500 company headquarters were in a city, the size of its capital markets, and the number of embassies, think tanks, political organizations, and museums.
While FP mainly focuses on what the rise of the cities will mean for diplomacy, statehood and power, we wondered what it means for real estate. In a separate essay in the magazine, Joel Kotkin takes a look at the rise of the city—the megacity in particular—and finds quality of life lacking.
But bigger might no longer mean better. The most advantaged city of the future could well turn out to be a much smaller one. Cities today are expanding at an unparalleled rate when it comes to size, but wealth, power, and general well-being lag behind. With the exception of Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo, most cities of 10 million or more are relatively poor, with a low standard of living and little strategic influence.
The Top 10 Most Global Cities
1. New York
5. Hong Kong
7. Los Angeles