6 Sep 2011

The attempt to classify and rank cities according to their global influence is not new, and neither are the critiques to such attempts (see previous post). An example is the concept of 'world cities' (which usually refers to London, New York and Tokyo) that has remained influential in both the popular media and academic journals, as it elicits glitzy images of cosmopolitanism and wealth, and evokes a transnational space where the global elite (including the academic global elite) can always feel at home.

Recently The Economist (through its affiliated magazine Intelligent Life) has started a discussion to identify the Capital of the World. The interesting feature in this piece is that alongside a poll where everyone can vote, a group of journalists have each been arguing for a particular city. Besides the obvious examples of London, New York and Washington, Delhi, Beijing and Singapore have also been singled out as potential capitals of the world. Despite its subjective character, it's an interesting reflection on what makes a city relevant in the global economy and polity.