World Cities


What is a world city?

World cities:

  • idea of different relationships
  • operation of global networks
  • London/New York/Tokyo

Nature/Character/Spatial Distribution: The emergence of the global city reflects the internationalisation of economic activity and a spatially dispersed but globally integrated organisation of production and consumption.

Key Idea: Linked via a comprehensive transport system (Heathrow Airport and St Pancreas Station) and an extensive telecommunications network.

Roles of a world city: Centres of production, consumption, exchange, corpate and political decision making, culture, and education.  


What are the characteristics of a world city?

1 of 6

Sub-urbanisation - Branskome, Red Hall, West Park

  • Caused by the development of roads and transport in the 1920's
  • Buses introduced for commuting to work
  • Ribbon development then occured
  • Council houses developed 1950's and 1970's such as Red Hall and Branksome
  • Leads to relocation of services to suburbs
  • Is where people want to be
  • Then decline in the CBD with skilled people moving out
  • Less conjestion on roads
  • Rural-urban fringe enroached by urban sprawl
  • Increased flood risk by building on flood plains
  • More conjestion and pollution
2 of 6

Counter-urbanisation - Sedgefield

  • Movement of people and employement to rural areas
  • Retired, wealthy, young proffesional families
  • People have no need to live there anymore
  • Improvement of services 
  • Integration of primary schools due to increased population
  • Light industries may develop
  • Cities fall into decline
  • Dilute village life such as local football match in Sedgefield
  • Increase house prices
  • Locals cannot buy houses
3 of 6

Gentrification - Islington, London

  • Movement of middle class back into the inner city
  • Aesthetically pleasing georgian/victorian villas or terrace houses
  • Can have potential 

Case Study:

  • Rise of house prices from £4000 to £26000
  • People in secondary sector decreased from 97% in 1971 to 30% in 2001
  • More accomodation through conversion of pubs and shops
  • Blocked off area 
  • Private process/initiative


  • Loss of urban authenticity
  • Large developments dwarf historic buildings
  • More stability for local area
  • More spending in area so increased economy
4 of 6

Regeneration Schemes - Grainger Town


  • Encourage city living
  • Improving environment
  • Creating Residential Units

Former Bank of England on Grey Street needed refurbishement to suit the needs of different tennants. Corinihian columns on its facade were kept and the whole facade was cleaned to bring out the original georgian brick work.

Red Box post office was transformed into offices, restaurants, flats, a gallery, and also flexible space.

Lamp-posts and sign-posts moved to walls to maximise space. Benches have glass backs of the purpose to see the streets. Flower boxes added to improve environment. Flats added above shops; 289 flats and appartments were completed.

Overall, Grainger Town was a huge success.

5 of 6

Out-of-town Retailing - Metro Centre

Main cause behind urban decline is de-industrialisation:

  • Narrow economic base 
  • Declined from 1950's to 80's 
  • Northern cities experienced significant economic ressesions.

Deindustrialisation caused by: 

  • Competition from abroad eg. South Asia
  • Poor industrial relations
  • Loss of raw materials eg. Coal

Metro Centre: 

  • Enterprise Zone
  • Relocated to A1 to improve transport links and access
  • 2500 trees planted to balance nature and car traffic
  • High demand so multi-storey shops and car parks 
6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Geography resources:

See all Geography resources »See all World Cities resources »