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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll try to ask this one as simply as possible:

on this board this board, our paradigm of cities (both in the US and globally) appears very strongly to be a hierarchial view point that almost borders on being a food chain. It almost appears that our lists are almost believed to be factual information rather than the opinions they truly are.

Are cities as hierarchial as we like to believe or is greatness more spread out that we think?

Additonally, in the process of ranking our cities, do we tend to attach permanent attributes to them, attributes that truly are far more ephemeral than we'd like to believe? Do we project our own times, our own sense of self-importance and, quite often, our own lack of history (where change is the real constant and the incremental length of change becomes less and less the more advanced we become; what' up today could be down tomorrow).

Do we seem to attach a permanance to where we place our cities in our hierarchies. Does our thinking really reflect a reality that what is up to today may be down tomorrow; and vice versa?

I have attempted to state this thread starter, like I have in similiar ones, without reference to any particular city. I did so as I did not want to muddy the waters with the mention of any given place. I'm more interested in generically there is a different, perhaps less competite, way in which we can healthily view American and global cities.
 

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the hierarchy is true and real, it is based on facts, and the hierarchy changes. in 50 years probably we will have something else than now. the hierarchy of cities is not "a thinking" but made by specialists (cf the webpage who ranks world cities).

but it is symbolic . its is just to know where the world is ruled.

a city of 100000 can attract jobs and investments as much as a "BIG 4", and have a nice quality of life. If your company has no activities in those big 4 cities you can still be succesfull. ex microsoft is based in seattle, airbus in toulouse
 

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The whole concept is absurd and outdated. With globalization and technology, place means less and less.

Take 2 mid-sized American cities, Atlanta and Seattle. Not obviously places steeped with "power" in the traditional political/financial sense.

But CNN is arguably of global importance and Microsoft is arguably among the most powerful companies in the world. How does one measure the influence and power that are derived from being home to such corporate giants?

Or looking at a newer example in the Arab world. Traditionally Cairo and other older cities like Beirut and Damascus were the center of power in that part of the world. And now, all of a sudden tiny Qatar, home of Al-Jazeerah, finds itself as the defacto voice for 300,000,000 Arab world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rockford said:
The whole concept is absurd and outdated. With globalization and technology, place means less and less.

Take 2 mid-sized American cities, Atlanta and Seattle. Not obviously places steeped with "power" in the traditional political/financial sense.

But CNN is arguably of global importance and Microsoft is arguably among the most powerful companies in the world. How does one measure the influence and power that are derived from being home to such corporate giants?

Or looking at a newer example in the Arab world. Traditionally Cairo and other older cities like Beirut and Damascus were the center of power in that part of the world. And now, all of a sudden tiny Qatar, home of Al-Jazeerah, finds itself as the defacto voice for 300,000,000 Arab world.
I agree fully, Rockford. Not only can you have firms like Microsoft & CNN in mid-sized cities; the success of these firms is based on the other cities as well. The corporate world is so plugged-in globally that it has no desire to see any one location be elevated, save for the concentration of business opportunities that it seeks from all its global cities.

In a computerized age, work (and highly creative and technologically advanced work) can be done anywhere, easily outsourced since the cost of transporting it is miniscule.

In addition, advanced technologies has allowed even smaller major cities to have much of the variety of entertainment and cultural advantages that used to be the provence of only the super-sized cities.

Our cities, to a degree, are just frameworks for people being plugged in and plugged out. There is fewer long term loyalty and far less ability for any city to control its own destiny; cities just don't have that type of cohesiveness and power today.

I highly recommend a book I am currently reading,The World Is Flat, by NY Times columnist Tom Freidman. Freidman explains how cheap it is to outsource high tech jobs and what such outsourcing is doing to flatten the world's playing field and to allow what was once thought of as third world countries to rise and become players.

If I look at my own city, Chicago, I have no idea where it will appear on a global list in 50, 25 or even 10 years. So much of what makes the city's preceived value is out of the city's control. What I do like about Chicago is that the city has gone to great length to create the right type of vibrant and exciting environment that can keep it competitve with the quality of life issues that are so important to a city's success. Those can, to a degree, be controlled; much of the economic position cannot.
 
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