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The role of the global network of cities in the development of peripheral cities and regions

Datu, Kerwin (2013) The role of the global network of cities in the development of peripheral cities and regions. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This study seeks to understand the implications of the global network of cities for the development of peripheral cities in peripheral regions (D cities) such as Lagos through the growth and expansion of their firms, by comparing the geography of this network with the geography of Lagos firms’ global interactions. A first phase drew a sample of corporate location data spanning 1,625 cities to construct a graph of the global network, subdivided into seven regions and 11 industrial sectors. This was analysed with both visual and computational methods. A second phase involved fieldwork in which senior staff at 20 Lagos firms were interviewed about their firms’ global and regional interactions. The location data thus obtained were used to construct a graph of the network centred on Lagos and spanning 219 cities, analysed in the same way. While intrafirm ties remain important for describing the geography of the global network towards its core, interfirm ties may be increasingly important for describing its geography towards its periphery. Lagos’ interfirm ties reveal that core cities in peripheral regions such as Johannesburg (C cities) play a weaker role than Friedmann’s (1986) “world city hypothesis” suggests, while peripheral cities in core regions (B cities) play a stronger role. Lagos acts like a funnel, taking the products and knowledge developed in B cities and bringing them to market in other D cities. A theoretical framework is constructed, which suggests that rather than seek further ties to the existing core of the network, firms in D cities such as Lagos should broaden their connections amongst other peripheral cities (both B and D cities). This effectively puts their cities at the core of new components within the wider global network, a proposition which resonates with sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein’s (1984) theories of “economic worlds” and with urbanist Jane Jacob’s (1984) argument that “backward cities need one another”.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Kerwin Mendoza Datu
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Mercer, Claire and Iammarino, Simona

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