The Governance Gauge: Redefining Global Cities

“The economic primacy of major cities is rarely matched by their formal governing powers. Governance matters for competitiveness because proactive government, public, and civic groups can marshal investment from a wide variety of domestic and international sources to enable new growth strategies.” — Jesus Leal Trujillo and Joseph Parilla

We hope you enjoy this month’s Governance Gauge: for more reading material, you can always visit our reading list for more on governance, special economic zones, best practices and studies!

In this work, Jesus Leal Trujillo and Joseph Parilla from Brookings create a new framework for evaluating global cities.

The report starts by analyzing three forces reshaping the international economy — urbanization, globalization and technological change. All these are placing cities at the forefront of global economic development. Urbanization is increasing cities’ population size, while globalization and technological change increase the value of cities as international trade nodes and innovation centers. However, there are risks associated with these changes as well, such as rising inequality.

The authors then define five main competitiveness factors for cities. These are tradable clusters, innovation, talent, infrastructure, and governance — the first three being considered key drivers in productivity growth and the last two as enablers supporting the driving factors.

What follows is an analysis of the world’s 123 largest metropolitan areas based on indicators of the main competitiveness factors. Cities were clustered based on their similarity, which resulted in seven types of global cities. These are Global Giants, Asian Anchors, Emerging Gateways, Factory China, Knowledge Capitals, American Middleweights and International Middleweights.

The seven types of cities are examined in depth, and their relative strengths and weaknesses in relation to other city groups is demonstrated. Lastly, the report explores the particular challenges and opportunities that each kind of city will face in years to come.

The report is divided into 5 parts, first exploring the forces impacting urban development, then creating the new typology for global cities and using it to examine the world’s largest metro areas. Lastly, implications for policymakers are laid out.

Creators of zones and societies may read chapter 4 for an analysis of the different characteristics, industrial structures and key competitiveness factors of the world’s seven types of global cities.

Policymakers and analysts should refer to chapter 5 to understand the policy implications of the report for their type of global city.

Scholars and experts can read chapters 2 and 3 for the global megatrends which are impacting cities and for the model used to measure competitiveness and cluster cities in groups.

The book can be found here.

Written by: Francisco Litvay



Institute for Competitive Governance

The Institute for Competitive Governance is a nonprofit institution which studies special jurisdictions throughout the world.