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Global Cities: the New Urban Reality (November 2015): Home

By Jane Marcus-Delgado


This bibliography essay first appeared in the November 2015 issue of Choice (issue 53 | volume 3).


At the beginning of the twentieth century, approximately 10 percent of the world’s population lived in cities.  One hundred years later, more than half of the world’s people are urban dwellers—and the size and complexity of cities has increased proportionately.  This rapid acceleration has brought with it demographic, socioeconomic, political, and cultural changes that have fueled an extensive body of scholarship on urban studies, in particular on what has become known as “global cities.”  Study of global cities extends to nearly every discipline in the social sciences and humanities, and this essay looks at the rapidly expanding research in this area.

The essay focuses on five broad aspects of scholarship on global cities.  It first defines the concept and presents a brief contextual overview of the subject’s evolution.  The second section identifies general resources and reference works that introduce this area of study to those new to it.  The next three sections reflect key debates in global cities research: the emergence of urban centers from less industrialized areas; interactions among global, local, and “glocal” actors; and governance and democracy.  The final section addresses overarching spatial and territorial concerns in the scholarship, including city-regions and the role of the state vis-à-vis global cities.

Jane Marcus-Delgado, PhD, is associate professor of political science and director of the International Studies Program at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.  The author is grateful to her colleague Dr. Richard Flanagan for his significant contribution to this essay.