Sassen (2000) pointed out in her study entitled “A Sociology of Globalization” that there are some cities are fast changing into a paradigm called global cities. In her studied she focused on New York, Tokyo, and London. According to her research these cities have undergone changes in production and territoriality, institutions and social process, and economic organization. She further explained that such changes should be of concern to researchers because they have implicating changes on the country`s spatial or scalar characteristics. Such changes can cause a shift of the “command points” in the development of capitalist globalization, which is an essential factor in the in the building of powerful international corporations, information industry firms, and finance companies. Moreover, a global city has destabilizing effects on nation-state.
Sassen`s explanation of the implications of the formation of global cities to the economy, society, and governance that numerous researchers were convinced and since that time onwards a great number of studies where performed in assessing which of the current cities all over the world are most likely to become or which could be considered as global cities. One of the fruits of such studies is the creation of framework for the said assessment. Nevertheless, some researchers argue that the existing framework was heavily based on the previous work made by Sassen and hence is only effective on cities of first world countries or the global cities of the north. In the current framework, assess cities based from the existence or absence of central functions which accompany the expansion of the capitalist system. Such center functions include accounting, banking, advertising, finance, public relations, security services, and telecommunications (Jacobs, 1961 de Carteau, 1984 and Self, 2007). Nevertheless, cities in the South America such as those in Brazil could not be assessed using the current framework to become global cities in a sense that the stability of nation-state is slowly waning, yet the power of the Brazilian government is also increasing (Sounders, 2012). Clearly this is not what Sessan predicted with the stabilization of nation-state and the formation of a global city. Gugler (2002) argued that the social science researchers have been biased in creating the framework by simply taking a few cities as representatives of “world cities” or global cities – consequently, these are the western cities or the global cities of the north. Rust (2012) explained that different countries have different challenges and hence different focuses on the development initiatives. While the western countries deal with their challenges with advancements in technologies, developing countries address through sociological ways, yet both countries are affected and make different contributions to globalization (van der Merwe, 2004). This idea is well supported by a research conducted by Storper (2103) entitled, “Cities and Regions in the Twenty-First Century: Why Do They Develop and Change?” According to the article current studies are still far away from the causes of changes on cities, particularly the transformation to global cities. The reason behind such inefficiency is due to the nature of the method that sociologists use, which is characterized by “bracketing out most of the interesting interactions this `if this, then that` kinds of approaches. The further emphasized this point the discussing how the different cities in America progressed on different an expected times and in different ways (p. 4).
From the above discussions it is concluded that the existing framework, for assessing global cities, is not applicable to both global north and global south. The reason behind this is that there is no single route to a city`s development to world cities. Each city has its own sets of unique challenges, and therefore would follow different ways of addressing to progress. It can be argued that all global cities have developed central functions, and so the capacity to have such functions can become valid bases for assessing global cities. Nevertheless, the focus of social studies is necessarily on such central functions but on the prior events which broth them about or has made them possible, and therefore the argument fails to stand that the current framework suffices to assess the likelihood of a city`s transformation to a global city.
de Certeau, M. (1980), Walking in the City, in his: The Practice of Everyday Life, Berkeley: U of California P, 1984, pp. 91-110.
Gugler, J. (2004), Introduction, in his (ed.), World Cities beyond the West: Globalization, Development, and Inequality, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-26.
Jacobs, J. (1961), from The Death and Life of Great American Cities, in: Bridge, Gary and Sophie Watson (eds.), The Blackwell City Reader, Malden, MA: Blackwell, pp. 273-277.
Rast, J. (2012), Why History (Still) Matters: Time and Temporality in Urban Political Analysis, Urban Affairs Review 48(1), pp. 3-36.
Sassen, Saskia (2000), The Global City: Strategic Site/New Frontier, in Isin, Engin F. (ed.), Democracy, Citizenship and the Global City, London: Routledge, pp. 48-61.
Saunders, D. (2012), Outside In: The Lives of the New City, in his: Arrival City, New York, NY: Vintage, pp. 37-75.
Self, W. (2007), Walking to New York, in: Psychogeography: Disentangling the Modern Conundrum of Self and Place, New York: Bloomsbury USA, pp. 11-66.
Storper, M.l. (2013), Cities and Regions in the Twenty-First Century: Why Do They Develop and Change?, in his: Keys to the City, pp. 1-7 (until “from city to city” on page 7).
van der Merwe, I.J. (2004).The Global Cities of Sub-Sahara Africa: Fact or Fiction?, Urban Forum 15(1): 36 – 47.