World Cities, 2012

World Cities 2012

Source: AT Kearney, 2012 Global Cities Index and Emerging Cities Outlook.

World Cities can be defined by their role in global economic, financial, cultural, transportation, and political affairs. They have achieved a first-name familiarity since a global city is recognized without using a political subdivision (e.g. London, UK, or Paris, France). Each world city has a unique mix of strengths representing a specialization in the global realm. Some cities have a dominant political influence, while others have a strong financial or cultural sphere that spans continents. The above map represents a four tiers classification of the world’s 65 most significant cities in terms of a World City Index. The top five global cities include New York (6.35), London (5.79), Paris (5.48), Tokyo (4.99), and Hong Kong (4.58). Many of the world’s more prominent cities are port cities.

The World City Index is calculated according to the following criteria (from AT Kearney report):

Business activityThe economic weight of the city; headquarters of major multinational corporations, locations of top business services firms, the value of capital (stock) markets, the number of international conferences, and the flow of goods through ports and airports.
Human capitalCapacity to attract and train talent; size of foreign-born population, quality of universities, number of international schools, international student population, and number of residents with university degrees.
Information exchangeThe effectiveness of information flows; accessibility to major TV news channels, internet presence, number of international news bureaus, level of censorship, and broadband subscriber rate.
Cultural influenceThe cultural weight of the city; number of major sporting events, number of museums, performing arts venues, culinary establishments, number of international travelers, and number of sister-city relationships.
Political engagementThe level of influence on global politics; number of embassies and consulates, major think tanks, international organizations, and local institutions with international reach, and the number of political conferences.