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Old 06-16-2020, 10:06 PM
Location: Green Country
2,868 posts, read 2,828,207 times
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Originally Posted by svelten View Post
I should apologize to OP for derailing the thread as it's not about Vancouver really, I think the other user's (manitopiaaa) reductionist hot take of the city was more than a little unfair lol.

To pare down to a basic essence; few people around the world cares about them or knows of their existence, or the fruits of their existence through byproducts or branding, at all (this is a cornerstone definition of influence!) other than the State they're a part of (and what use they provide to that State) and the people that live there. You cannot say that about Vancouver, Oslo, Helsinki, Munich, Copenhagen and Dublin where these cities are on several brands and in the mind share of hundreds of millions around the globe. How many people outside of China can even point to which side (north/south) of the country Shenyang is?
How presumptuous it is to cite Vancouver, Oslo, Helsinki, Munich, Copenhagen and Dublin as being "in the minds of hundreds of millions around the globe." This is Western-centric Orientalism at its finest. Do you honestly think the 4 billion people in Asia really think much of tertiary Western cities like Helsinki and Oslo? To you they are important because you are a Westerner. If you watch Chinese and Indian media, however, you'll come to discover that these behemoths are predictably quite insular countries. Very few in China and India are spending their time thinking about Dublin. And most countries are like this. Most Latin media is Latin-centric. Same for you. Anglo media is Anglo centric. You need to detach yourself from your media bubble and look at things objectively.

I've been to 55 countries in the past 5 years and I've been asked by Bolivians in La Paz where Washington DC is. Yes, the capital of America! And yet, we're somehow expected to believe that 7 billion third world souls think of Copenhagen because of how rich and white it is?

Here's something that will come as shocking: those "small" Chinese and Indian cities are incredibly important to the global economy and their "regional" pull affects far more people than you realize. Decisions made in the city of Lucknow, the political capital of Uttar Pradesh, affect 220,000,000 souls! When you think about it, Lucknow is more deserving of a slot than a White wealthy city like Oslo whose importance comes from being blonde and rich. Same for Vancouver, whose cultural pull is largely non-existent. Vancouver isn't Seattle. It doesn't have Amazon, Costco, Starbucks, Microsoft, Boeing, the 2nd largest tech ecosystem in the world. And its influence doesn't even extend into Alberta, since nobody in Calgary/Edmonton treats Vancouver as their "lead city." So Vancouver's pull is 5 million in British Columbia. By global standards, that's nothing.

Your mistake is that you conflate influence with notoriety. Kim Kardashian is famous and has great marketing. But she's FAR, FAR, FAR less powerful than Lael Brainard, a regular member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System of the United States of America. The latter is unknown but can move trillions of dollars with one vote. The former has a big butt and gets paid to cause drama. Who has the real influence here?
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Old 06-18-2020, 09:30 AM
Location: Plague Island
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Originally Posted by manitopiaaa View Post
I'm sorry, but I find these arguments weak.

(1) Canada is 1.9% of the world's economy (nominal) and 1.3% (PPP). If anything, Canada is over-represented with 2 cities. Which is fine, as I think both Montreal and Toronto have merit to their slots. But I don't understand how Canada being "3rd in quality of life" and 11th in cultural influence (whatever that means) has any bearing on Vancouver deserving a spot.

If anything, those other cities you objected to (Fukuoka, Busan, etc.) have far more merit on account of the "important" countries they are in. Japan is 6% of the world's economy and you believe they should have the same number of cities (Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo) as Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver). How is that fair?

You're trying to claim some global conspiracy to deprive Canada of its "rightful" spot while ignoring that Canada is, with 2 cities, over-represented as is! France only gets Paris but under your methodology should have 3 cities. China is actually under-represented at 15 cities.

And my country, the U.S., is 24.6% of the global economy, #1 in global power and #1 in cultural influence. And yet I'm not complaining about us "only" having 14 cities because I agree with OP that the 15th city isn't worthy. Not everything is a victimization.

On its merits, Vancouver does not meet the economic, political or cultural influence necessary to enter the Top 100. Again, being a Top 40 economy in North America is neither impressive nor particularly "influential." If I'm missing something obvious, please let me know.

Screaming G7 doesn't negate the fact that Vancouver as a standalone city is not Top 100 material.

(2) Vancouver ranks highly on quality of life, sure, but how does that relate to the question OP is asking? OP doesn't care about which city has the highest quality of life, or Maseratis or suspension bridges or wonton kiosks. He cares about "influence." That generally means either economic power (ability to move the markets), political power (ability to influence global geopolitics in some fashion) or cultural influence (ability to influence society and its values).

Being "well known" has no bearing on this. Las Vegas, Orlando and Venice are EXTREMELY well known. They are not Top 100 on that basis alone.

Being "cited" doesn't matter either. A lot of Western media is Western centric. How shocking! It's like the Times Higher Education poll based in London that usually has 3 or 4 of the 10 best universities globally in...you guessed it...London! Part of being an objective analyst is putting aside your petty nationalisms and braggadocio and evaluating a city on its merits. I abhor Putin and the Russian regime, yet I'm not going to deny Moscow's geopolitical, military and cultural influence in Eurasia. Likewise, I'm not going to demand the U.S. receive 25 slots on the basis of its economy if those latter cities aren't up to par.

(3) I'm not saying Vancouver isn't more influential than San Antonio. I'm saying that if it can't even extert economic influence to enter the Top 40 in its continent, then the bar is extremely high for its inclusion.

Neither are Top 100. A lot of those "secondary" Chinese and Indian cities are vital to global supply chains and act as economic hubs for 100,000,000 people. Dismissing an Ahmedabad or a Chengdu because "Vancouver looks prettier and I live there" is pretty juvenile.

In many ways, the more I think about it, the more Vancouver falls on my list.

When you think about it, places like Hsinchu (home of Taiwan Semiconductor) or Stuttgart (home of the European auto sector) play far more integral global nodes than Vancouver. That is what I mean by "mountains and condos." Vancouver is on the global economic periphery. It is neither a key pillar of the creative class (based on its low wages, small corporate presence and weak venture capital) nor a key pillar of the global foundry (those who manufacture the goods that make the world turn). It has little geopolitical clout (not even the capital of its very sparsely populated province) and little cultural clout (Lions Gate and Lululemon do not make one a Top 100 city).

Vancouver is a wealthy condo town where rich Asians park their cash so they can sip coffee and jog in the pine trees. I'm sorry if this offends you, but I struggle to see what Vancouver offers that's so special to the world.

Also, none of this matters: "international visitors, average expenditure per visitor, five star hotels, universities (including a top 40 world university), real estate value, restaurants per capita, cultural diversity, languages spoken."

This is wealth bias. By this logic, Monaco and the Cayman Islands are global hegemons. Las Vegas, Orlando, Punta Cana and Malaga are Top 100 too. Having high average is expenditure per visitor is influence? Real estate value is influence? It sounds like you are building a methodology to spit out your preferred outcome: Vancouver being on the list.

If I asked you to name the most influential cities on this planet, would you really want to know about restaurants per capita and # of 5-star hotels?

The only criterion I agree with is # of Top 100 global universities. That's a point in Vancouver's favor but I'm from the Northeast US, so having 1 Top 100 university isn't really as impressive to me as it may be to others.
Very well put!
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Old 06-18-2020, 03:52 PM
Status: "See My Blog Entries for my Top 500 Most Important USA Cities" (set 16 days ago)
Location: Harrisburg, PA
1,051 posts, read 982,089 times
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I appreciate everyone's insightful responses. Making the Top 100 is a major feat. It feels as is 200+ cities are trying to be Top 100. We could easily create a list of 1,000 great world cities. However, there are almost 80 million people for each city in a list of 100 for the world population of 7.7 billion people. So, it takes something special to make it.

Also, just because I am the OP does not make me more qualified, or have the final say, so I encourage anyone to include their own List of Top 100 most influential world cities! (manitopiaaa and svelten I would be interested in your personal take on the Top 100)

I will now try to address everyone's comments and provide some insight or justification on where we stand. At this time, I DO NOT have an updated list change. I also wanted everyone to see svelten’s quote, which quite accurately describes my methodology:

Originally Posted by svelten View Post
… I think too much emphasis was placed on regional inclusivity and pure population rather than overall performance/notability/global cultural significance. The population weight is generally over emphasized but usually doesn't correlate that well with power, GDP, amenities, culture etc - just check the world's most populated countries.
I agree with this analysis. A fundamental question is - do we prefer cities which are large, or do we prefer cities that are well-known? Quantity versus quality (which, in reality this is not a trade-off [large, developed cities like Tokyo and Seoul exist]) So, IMO, both criteria matter, and so it is probably more or less an argument of how well-connected a city is to other cities in the world.

Now, onto the comments:

Originally Posted by dingwuwang92 View Post
Hefei 8.189 million people Capital of Anhui Province Anhui Province 63.659 million people Yes, more people than Korea and Spain. Zhengzhou 10.352 million people Capital of Henan Province Henan Province Total population 109.52 million people Shijiazhuang 11.0312 million people Capital of Hebei Province total population 75.9197 million people
Zhengzhou was on my original Top 100 list, however I removed it in favor of Hanoi. Vietnam having two cities in the Top 100 is a bit unfair, but Hanoi is quite well-known in the world, whereas Zhengzhou is unknown outside of China (it houses about 7 million people and is a very traditional Chinese city). While similar in size, Hanoi exerts more world influence. Suzhou was also on my list and I removed it and replaced with Surabaya (a famous tourist destination with 5 million people, and Indonesia seems to deserve at least 2 cities on the list [and probably should deserve more, but I stopped short of including Bandung]). Though, I am unsure if Surabaya should remain on my list, as many have cast doubt on its actual influence.

As I mentioned earlier, and without going off on a political rant, China should dominate this list, but as I pointed out earlier, China is largely a closed society. Chinese citizens cannot even access the internet and unfortunately China's cultural impact on the world has been muted. Chinese economic influence, however is strong and very influential in the world. So, it is quite difficult to assess China's identity in this ranking. I felt generous and gave China 15 cities in my ranking. Most posters feel this is far too favorable to China and should be far less because most Chinese cities are unknown outside of China, and instead act as large population centers. Do we prefer large cities or well-known cities?

Originally Posted by manitopiaaa View Post
Here are my changes:
- (-) Belo Horizonte (regional city of little global importance)
- (-) Birmingham (regional city of little global importance, former industrial hub)
- (+) Brasilia (capital of major G20)
- (-) Changsha (regional city of little global importance)
- (-) Dusseldorf, (+) Cologne (Dusseldorf is the state capital, but Cologne is the real hub of the greater Rhine/Ruhr.)
- (+) Munich (hugely influential corporate hub with massive Global 2000 presence)
- (+) Panama City (economic hub of Central America + Spanish Caribbean, massive global trade/logistics importance)
- (+) Nairobi (rising trade/economic hub of East Africa)
- (-) Surabaya (regional city of little global importance)
- (-) Xiamen (provincial economic hub with some logistics/manufacturing importance, but other cities are more deserving)
- (+) Zurich (major global financial center)

I was torn on Hamburg (vs. Cologne) and Pyongyang. Both have importance, but I couldn't take them out. Perhaps swap Pyongyang with Busan? The latter has a bigger economy, but is no doubt of much less geopolitical significance. I think Hamburg is more global significant as a city than Cologne, but Rhine-Ruhr > Hamburg, so torn there. A good argument could also be made for Addis Ababa given its UN/African Union/rising African power connections.
First of all, thank you manitopiaaa for organizing my list alphabetically and for your response! Zurich was on my list but I removed it in favor of Kiev (It felt so wrong, and in all honesty it probably is completely... wrong)... I guess because Ukraine is much larger than Switzerland. If I end up revising my list, this will definitely be a trade-off I probably undo. My reasoning was the Zurich was so small (with an urban area of about 1 million, not much bigger than Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA), however Zurich is also always among the top list of millionaires in the world (per-capita wealth is off the charts). There is a TREMENDOUS amount of private wealth parked in Zurich as it serves as an extremely major financial institution hub and center of banking. It also holds perhaps the largest gold reserve on Earth. Switzerland also exerts outward global influence with its currency (franc), and is considered by many to be the most stable and one of the most influential countries on the planet. Excluding Zurich feels wrong.

I strongly disagree about including Pyongyang as even though it makes the international news regularly, it is overwhelmingly for nefarious and negative reasons. The NK people are being held hostage, the infrastructure outside the capital is minimal, and the economy is based on menial labor and stuck in the early-mid 20th century. It is a very sad situation for the NK people. I chose Busan instead because it is SK's second largest city and has a massive seaport. Unlike NK, SK is a free country and an economic powerhouse. It also exerts considerable cultural influence worldwide, much like Japan.

I will consider Addis Ababa for geo-political reasons only as potential Top 100 material. I would probably argue more in favor of including Nairobi instead as Kenya seems to be more integrated in the global economy and more commonly in the news. I understand Ethiopia is beginning to develop its economy and manufacturing base. In the future, I think there will be many more African cities in the Top 100. I feel badly that my list was unfair to Africa with only four African cities, which was reflective of many African nations being among the least developed nations in the world. Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Casablanca, and Cape Town are all still strong candidates. Africa is expected to grow substantially and have greater world economic influence in the future.

Originally Posted by Pueblofuerte View Post
Guadalajara is definitely culturally applicable it's the cradle of popular Mexican identity but doesn't perform quite as well economically, I'm on the fence with a top 100 status although would place it above Minneapolis.
I'm probably going to agree with you here. If not Top 100, Guadalajara is firmly right outside the top 100 IMHO. Mexico cannot be underestimated for its cultural influence as the largest Spanish-speaking country on Earth.

Originally Posted by manitopiaaa View Post
OP, you should also know that your list is heavy on economic/political influence.

There is, of course, cultural influence.

Colombia and Puerto Rico have far more cultural influence (through music/arts) in Latin America than their economic numbers would appreciate. Medellin, Havana, Santo Domingo and San Juan, culturally, are far more influential on Latin culture than Monterrey or even Santiago, yet economics would dictate that Monterrey is Top 100 but the others are not.

This is true for other cities as well. Kyoto, Jerusalem, Cape Town, Nashville, Austin, Portland all exude far more cultural influence than economic/political influence. Maybe some of those cities are no longer cultural trend-setters (Kyoto > Tokyo, Cape Town > Johannesburg), but they have had a strong hand in shaping the societies and cultures in their regions. Just some food for thought.
Yes, I agree. But with only 100 positions, it is difficult to select cities for cultural impact over economic and political influence? I will admit Medellín is appealing as a potential Top 100 candidate. I also considered Jerusalem and Mekkah for their significant religious roles. If you asked a random person, there is a good chance either or both of these two cities would commonly make their Top 100 list. Perhaps we should consider removing Tel Aviv and Riyadh in favor of these two cities? That is a difficult determination.

Originally Posted by svelten View Post
I should apologize to OP for derailing the thread as it's not about Vancouver really, I think the other user's (manitopiaaa) reductionist hot take of the city was more than a little unfair lol.

I think we have to just come to agree that this list is going to be a hot topic (or die through attrition if no one responds) without using some sort of multi criteria weighing of several factors to build it on a table. There are plenty of hot take posts around the forum to be fair that have hundreds of replies so it's no outlier here, but perhaps if you explained a methodology and built a list off that through Excel you could come up with something more definitive and less difficult to argue. Now we are basically just using one word as a qualifier... Influential.

What does this mean? How much % weight should we give to (just throwing these out there): population, global travel, GDP, rate of growth, # of mentions on Instagram, how much are people blogging about it, how many companies use the city as part of its identity, etc. Also with the understanding that 100 is a totally arbitrary, human number and so the difference between 100 and 101 is, well, going to be nothing. I sense you probably initially placed Vancouver as 101 given it's the top of the runner up category.

The GAWC list is very specific in what its measuring, I don't think it's in any way intended to be seen as "global influence" but more so level of globalization. Some of the rankings in North America make no sense on that one.

I would absolutely consider Kinshasha and Lagos major cities of influence considering their regional pull. I think major capital cities in less represented parts of the world should retain their spot in the Top 100. It's really the smaller regional cities that I would debate with, especially some of those mentioned in Asia.

To pare down to a basic essence; few people around the world cares about them or knows of their existence, or the fruits of their existence through byproducts or branding, at all (this is a cornerstone definition of influence!) other than the State they're a part of (and what use they provide to that State) and the people that live there. You cannot say that about Vancouver, Oslo, Helsinki, Munich, Copenhagen and Dublin where these cities are on several brands and in the mind share of hundreds of millions around the globe. How many people outside of China can even point to which side (north/south) of the country Shenyang is?
Once again, I perfectly agree. You did not derail my thread either. This whole list is highly debatable and completely subjective at best and could easily involve hundreds of pages of dialogue and debate. My OP is certainly not the final answer! I, too, agree that most major publications would include Vancouver along with many "boutique" European cities in the Top 100. I use the world boutique because these are smaller cities that maintain cultural attributes, historical significance, and the highest quality of life found in the world. And fundamentally we need to decide if the Top 100 world cities focuses more on quantity or quality (even though that is an unfair proposition)? I tried balancing these factors by including cities like Vienna, Prague, Stockholm, Lisbon, Budapest, Warsaw, Birmingham, Manchester, Frankfurt, Brussels, Amsterdam-Rotterdam (which I am unsure if hyphenated form is fair).

Also, for the record Vancouver is easily far more important and internationally-connected than San Antonio, which usually does not make the top 30 cities in the USA (I'd put it at 31 nationally in the USA).

As you previously mentioned, the question becomes, how can we create such a formula to quantitatively measure the international "importance" of a city? Also, how reliable and complete are the data that we would use (I mean, I for one might question how accurate population data is in certain cities, as it can radically differ [for example, I have seen urban area populations for Seoul as high as 25+ million and as low as maybe 11 million]). I concur that GAWC is measuring something very specific (connectedness to London and the U.K. and its territories) and cannot form the basis for the Top 100 World Cities, however I do find it is quite useful and interesting nonetheless (despite some ridiculous outliers though like I mentioned Osaka, Nagoya, Luxembourg, etc.)! Here is a list of other factors that we could include in a formula:

Total Urban Area Population
Total Urban Land Area
City Proper Population
City Proper Population Density
National or State/Providence Political Capital?
Metro GDP
Metro/Rail Annual Ridership
Total Metro Airport(s) Volume / Ridership
Total High Rise Buildings (>35 m)
Total Skyscrapers (>150 m)
GaWC World Cities Ranking - measuring business and socio-political connections to London and the U.K.?
W.E.F.’s Most Innovative Cities
Stock Exchange Market Cap
Seaport Container Volume
Human Development Index
Tourism Ranking
Global Financial Centers Index
# of Diplomatic Missions (Embassies)
# of Millionaires
# of Billionaires
# of Instagram Hashtags using city name
# of Facebook likes for the city
Placement on Mastercard's Global Destination Cities Ranking
Hosted Olympics?
Hosted World Cup?

Some other factors that could be considered:
Official Sister/Twin Cities
Partner City
Home Country Population
Home Country Fragile State Index
Home Country Democracy Index
Home Country Human Development Index
Religious Significance / Pilgrimage
# of Famous Celebrities or Historical Figures
Settlement Date (age)
Crime Rate
Road/Grid Layout

Then the next question becomes, how do we assign values and weights to the above factors? We need to devise a formula, and then we must tediously enter all the raw data into an Excel spreadsheet. Perhaps the formula would generate an output value, and which would correspond with the most influential cities (NYC, Tokyo, London, Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, Moscow, etc.) and theoretically continuing until you reach a secluded hamlet or village. The Top 100 values would correspond with the Top 100 cities.

Keep in mind, depending on how we weigh the values, we could end up with some pretty wonky output values. For example, we might end-up with Sacramento, Orlando, and Indianapolis in the World's Top 100... which, I mean, I probably would disagree with. Most people would also disagree with including said cities too. How could we make a formula that would be FAIR? I feel like such a formula would be based on trial-and-error. As if, we populate the data first and THEN toy with the formula to get it resembles something we expect...? Isn’t that like “gaming” the outcome?

There seems to be so many variables it would be difficult to decide which ones are most important. There is a large degree of subjectivity that goes into these criteria. For example, how do we measure Political Capital? Does Brasília rank above Ankara in Political Capital, for example, or are they even?

My point is, what could be a fun, easy way to rank these cities could become a very methodical and tedious science. Anyway, I've been typing for almost two hours now, and I hate to say it but this is really wearing me out. My OP list emphasizes size and country representation. I cannot make a list that satisfies everyone... I am happy with my OP list.


If I was deciding to change my list I guess the following two actions would be taken:
First, I would make the inter-country swaps of removing Belo Horizonte and replacing it with Brasília, as well as maybe re-naming Düsseldorf and replacing it with Cologne.

+ Brasília
+ Cologne
(-) Belo Horizonte
(-) Düsseldorf

Second, it almost feels like I left out a bunch of powerful cities from Europe, Canada, Australia, and NZ. I believe there were pretty strong argument for Nairobi and Addis Ababa as well. But then again, these cities are small (even though they have dense built environment). So, I’d probably cut Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Changsha, Nanjing, Xiamen, Xi’an, Shenyang, Chengdu, Kinshasa, Minneapolis, Kiev, and Birmingham.

+Addis Ababa
+ Nairobi
(-) Ahmedabad
(-) Hyderabad
(-) Changsha
(-) Nanjing
(-) Xiamen
(-) Xi’an
(-) Shenyang
(-) Chengdu
(-) Kinshasa
(-) Kiev
(-) Birmingham

Taking Kiev off feels wrong though... Also I feel South America (below) is still underrepresented... I also considered removing Minneapolis for Helsinki - thoughts?

That would give Europe 27
Asia EX China 29
China 9
Australia+NZ 4
N America 19
S America 7
Africa 5

Asia EX China 31
China 15
Australia 2
N America 18
S America 7
Africa 4

Perhaps another way to tackle this problem is to create a list of 50 or 60 cities that EVERYONE agrees is in the top 100? (below are 58 cities I think probably? meet that criteria) and then work on the remaining list.

Toronto, Montréal, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Mexico City, Monterrey
Bogotá, Lima, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Santiago
London, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Rome, Milan, Moscow, Istanbul,
Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila
Kuala Lumpur, Singapore
Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Karachi, Tehran, Dubai
Cairo, Lagos, Johannesburg-Pretoria, Sydney, Melbourne
Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong

Edit: I think my original list is really the one that emphasizes size, scale, and regional inclusion, whereas the second/modified list (if it were to exist) better represents global connectivity, brand recognition, and appearance. Again, I'm not sure I really agree with the second list and instead definitely still prefer the first original post for now I think (I might change my mind). Anyway, I would really LOVE to hear other people's Top 100 lists personally! Thanks for reading and responding!

Last edited by g500; 06-18-2020 at 05:15 PM..
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Old 06-18-2020, 07:21 PM
Location: Green Country
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I strongly prefer the first list.

Just to highlight some oddities of the second list:

Population: 1,366,417,754
GDP (PPP): $11.321 trillion
GDP (Nominal): $2.936 trillion
Major Religions Founded: 2 (Buddhism, Hinduism)
Languages Spoken: 800 indigenous
Military Budget: $71 billion
Cities Under Proposed Changes: 5
Number of People per Top 100 City: 273,283,000

Canada + Scandinavia
Population: 58,598,159
GDP (PPP): $3.263 trillion
GDP (Nominal): $3.025 trillion
Major Religions Founded: 0
Military Budget: $30 billion
Languages Spoken: <100 indigenous
Cities Under Proposed Changes: 6
Number of People per Top 100 City: 9,766,000

I think these changes would make the list heavily biased toward the West, and particular the peripheral West. Take the numbers above. We'd be assigning 6 cities to Canada and Scandinavia, which combined have less people than each of France or Italy or the United Kingdom.

Yet, Canada + Scandinavia gets 6 (59,000,000), while France + Italy + the Uk (190,000,000) get 5? I don't see how that makes sense.

Even worse, those 59,000,000 would have more representation than 1,367,000,000 in India, a country with (a) 25x more people, (b) a bigger military, (c) a much bigger economy under PPP ($11 trillion vs. $3 trillion), (d) far more historical significance in guiding humanity (the hearth of Buddhism and Hinduism), (e) nuclear weapons, (f) regional power status, and (g) a cultural output (through Bollywood and Bangalore Silicon Valley) that extends deep into Southeast Asia and East Africa even). India is also the premier counter-balance to China in Asia, China being the #2 nation on Earth. Yet, India gets less representation than Canada and Scandinavia.

I stress the importance of avoiding wealth bias. If the metric is influence, you need to account for influence at all levels. Ahmedabad and Hyderabad are domestic cities, sure, but in a country that is continental in scale. A tertiary city in a regional power is often more influential than a primary city in a middling power.
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Old 06-18-2020, 09:08 PM
Status: "See My Blog Entries for my Top 500 Most Important USA Cities" (set 16 days ago)
Location: Harrisburg, PA
1,051 posts, read 982,089 times
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Manitopiaaa I think I still strongly prefer List 1 also. India feels severely underrepresented in List 2 with only 5 cities. You are "preaching to the choir" and I fully agree with your arguments.

List 1 I would probably still make the renaming changes by adding Brasília and Cologne (removing Belo Horizonte and Düsseldorf).

As mentioned previously, List 1 takes a more holistic world approach by allocating cities based on country / region size. Whereas List 2 evaluates cities more on each cities own merits and also heavily emphasizes brand name recognition and "what cities are talked about / familiar / famous ". List 1 has a lot of big clunkers - massive cities that are otherwise not talked about. List 2 has more "complete package" / "full-service" cities.

I'd stick with List 1 for now (again I may change my mind), but List 2 isn't entirely wrong either. A lot of the Chinese cities in List 1 are NEVER discussed in USA anywhere, ever. Never. For example, I have never once in my daily life heard about Changsha, Shenyang, Xi'an, Xiamen, or Chengdu. Granted I have lived in central Pennsylvania my whole life. But never on tv or any pop culture reference either. As a city nerd, I obviously have read about them. But day to day life, never. But, OTOH List 1 also omits some cities I HAVE heard referenced in daily life or in pop culture such as Dublin, Zurich, Munich, and Vancouver (heard about these quite often honestly). Oslo, Helsinki, and Nairobi I have heard only on a very seldom occasion. I will say Hamburg, Auckland, Perth, and Addis Ababa I honestly never heard about in my daily life. But, as a city nerd, I obviously have!

Maybe we could marry List 1 and List 2 by dropping Changsha, Xi'an, Shenyang, Xiamen for Zurich, Munich, Dublin, and Vancouver? That'd still give China 11 and Europe 26. I don't think China should have any less than 11 cities though (at one point I had it up to 18 cities before settling with 15 cities in List 1). Idk maybe its best to stick with List 1 untouched the way it is (other than 2 name changes). This Top 100 List is difficult. Seriously difficult. As a Westerner it's more difficult to choose List 1. But List 1 is not perfect and definitely needs some fine tuning. I really do not know how the Chinese cities rank in influence nationally after 1. Beijing, 2. Shanghai, 3. Hong Kong (controversy), 4. Guangzhou, 5. Shenzhen, 6. Tianjin, 7. Hangzhou?, 8. Chongqing?, ...? (very hazy after this)

Somehow I feel that leaving Zurich off List 1 is a BIG mistake. We could remove a European city like Prague, Kiev, or Birmingham for it? Idk... you see how difficult this becomes... It's a constant shuffle game where somebody has to be booted off to make room...

Definitely appreciate your input manitopiaaa, unfortunately I can't rep you again!

Last edited by g500; 06-18-2020 at 09:33 PM..
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Old 06-18-2020, 10:41 PM
Location: Green Country
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I agree with Zurich and Munich based on sheer financial and corporate might, respectively. Hamburg's port alone makes it a worthwhile contender (it, like Rotterdam, is vital for the European economy - one of the three pillars of the West). Those are changes I still wholeheartedly believe in.

I think Dublin, Helsinki, Oslo and Vancouver are more specious picks. The Harrisburg Media Market is almost the same population as Dublin, Helsinki and Oslo, and Vancouver's GDP, as I mentioned earlier puts it well behind most medium-sized U.S. cities. I honestly think Cleveland or Pittsburgh are better picks (though none are Top 100 picks in my opinion).

I'm in Alexandria, Virginia, and agree with you on recognition, but it's obviously a byproduct of our lived American experience. I hear a lot about Addis Ababa because I'm in DC, which has its own bustling Little Ethiopia and daily flights there from Dulles. That's how I first learned about Addis' booming economy, rapidly growing connections regionally (train to Djibouti, rail network to Nairobi in the works), African Union HQ and 2nd biggest International organization hub after Nairobi (with a big UN presence), etc.

I hear more about San Salvador than Oslo for that very reason (large Salvadoran community). Which is why I tried to think carefully if I only liked a city because I've heard of it.

I agree with keeping Kyiv. Ukraine is Europe's breadbasket and the city is the capital of a country of 40,000,000. It also has significant geopolitical and strategic influence given its flashpoint location between the European Union and the Eurasian Union led by Russia. If Kyiv weren't important, you wouldn't have two juggernauts engaged in a decade-long proxy war for influence over it.

My picks removed Changsha and Xiamen. Changsha is the ideological heart of Communist China (home of Mao). But is otherwise a large non-descript industrial city. Xiamen is a much wealthier coastal city, but has no strong global importance other than being a major foundry for cheap "Made in China" products. It's a supply chain stop, but I think the second weakest link in your China picks.

Chengdu is very important as a megacity in a province - Sichuan - of 100,000,000 people. It and Chongqing are akin to Atlanta/Dallas, both playing strong regional roles in the fastest growing part of China. It's also very liberal by Chinese standards, famous for its food, nature and panda reserves.

Xian is like Kyoto, a strong historical/cultural center. It doesn't have the economic strength to be Top 100, but does get brownie points by virtue of its importance to China's psyche - home to Old Xian, the Islamic Quarter, the City Walls and of course the Terracotta Warriors.

Shenyang is like the Detroit of China, the biggest city in the industrial, cold Manchurian Rust Belt. It's very large and regionally important, but I think it can be removed.

If I had to wittle down China, i'd take them out as follows: -Changsha, -Xiamen, -Xian, -Shenyang. If you want to cheat, you can also treat Guangzhou and Shenzhen as part of the same metro area, and that gives you another slot.

If I had to add more Western cities, Munich, Zurich and Hamburg are the best picks. After that are Copenhagen and Denver, Charlotte or Stuttgart. Dublin and Vancouver are more marketing hype than real global nodes.

CONCLUSION: If I were you, I'd -Changsha, Xiamen, Xian and replace with Zurich, Munich, Hamburg. Removing Shenyang for Addis Ababa or Nairobi makes sense, but I think 12 as a minimum for China is sound (you can argue it was under-represented at 15). Birmingham for Dublin would be a worthwhile flip in the British Isles, but I'd rather Birmingham be replaced with a Latin or African city (Panama City or whichever of Addis/Nairobi doesn't get chosen for Shenyang's slot).
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Old 06-18-2020, 10:45 PM
Location: Green Country
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"But List 1 is not perfect and definitely needs some fine tuning. I really do not know how the Chinese cities rank in influence nationally after 1. Beijing, 2. Shanghai, 3. Hong Kong (controversy), 4. Guangzhou, 5. Shenzhen, 6. Tianjin, 7. Hangzhou?, 8. Chongqing?, ...? (very hazy after this)"

On this the tiers are:

Guangzhou/Hong Kong/Shenzhen - together (as Pearl River Delta) these three are #1 by far though
Xian/Xiamen/Changsha/Nanning/Hefei/Zhengzhou (basically all the provincial capitals and largest cities, which are pretty interchangeable)
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Old 06-19-2020, 01:25 AM
Location: Sydney
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Originally Posted by dingwuwang92 View Post
Can add a Jinan 8.987 million permanent residents Capital of Shandong Province Shandong Province has a permanent population of 100.7021 million people
Sheer size does not equal influence... I've never even heard of this city.
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Old 06-19-2020, 09:08 AM
Status: "See My Blog Entries for my Top 500 Most Important USA Cities" (set 16 days ago)
Location: Harrisburg, PA
1,051 posts, read 982,089 times
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Manitopiaaa, in addition to swapping Belo Horizonte and Düsseldorf for Brasília and Cologne (which I would do regardless) I would strongly consider, as you mentioned:

(Complete possible changes to "List 1" in Post # 1)

+ Zurich
+ Munich
+ Nairobi
+ Brasília
+ Cologne
(-) Belo Horizonte
(-) Düsseldorf
(-) Changsha
(-) Xiamen
(-) Kinshasa

That leaves China with 13 cities (assuming you count HK as being part of China, which is controversial in some circles as HK is to some degree, or at least was in the past more autonomous than the Mainland, anyway enough of that I just feel we needed to probably address it at some point [to me HK is the China that China should be, open and free]) and Europe with 25 cities. My personal gut feeling is that after the above possible revision, Germany feels a bit too heavy with 4 cities, so I cannot accept Hamburg easily (giving Germany 5 cities), even though it is a great overall candidate city. What would be dropped in favor of Hamburg (Shenyang, Xi'an, Ahmedabad, or Surabaya)? I agree with your Chinese city hierarchy ranking, but I feel Tianjin is listed too low. It is one of only 4 cities that has its own administrative municipality along with Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing. So, I'd bump it up with Chengdu and Chongqing, personally.

TBF I'm only including Birmingham because I feel the U.K. deserves 3 cities, by way of serving as the successor to the British Empire, its biggest lasting impact (outside of culture and political system) having been the English language, the world's most utilized in business. I have heard Birmingham is unfortunately not exactly the most beloved city in the U.K., as it is home to many immigrants and an especially large Muslim community (this of course causes controversy among some). Given Bham's post-industrial history and status as a large community for Muslim immigrants it seems like it might have a bit of analog resemblance with Detroit, Michigan (a city I believe should also remain on List 1). Swapping Bham for Dublin, Ireland is not something I would strongly prefer.

I had to laugh when you pointed out the Harrisburg, PA media market (which also contains Lancaster and York) as that is quite a bit of a stretch. Technically you aren't wrong since Dublin, Oslo, and even Prague (which I am still including Prague on List 1) each would be about 1-1.5 million population urban area each and are not very big overall. In fact, that's actually slightly smaller than the Pittsburgh urban area at under 1.7 million. But, as you and I both know, the aforementioned European cities are (from what I can ascertain) more global, diverse, full-service-oriented, travelled, and historically, culturally and internationally significant. I mean, that seems to be the sense I get from online publications. Population can almost be a confounding variable that makes this List so difficult. It is the biggest ally and enemy. Including these smaller Euro cities might, however, open a can of worms as I suggested because then some more US cities might qualify (Phoenix, Denver, San Diego, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Charlotte, Portland, Tampa, Austin)...

Zurich I do think gets a free pass with only being a 1 million urban area, and is the smallest urban area in the Top 100 (assuming the above changes to my OP aka List #1). I have sung its many praises already and feel very strongly for its inclusion. Excluding it from List 1 seemed like a massive error. Switzerland (specifically Geneva or Zurich) is often regarded as a strong candidate for being a potential or fictional world capital. Switzerland is the world's most stable country (or definitely in the top 3 with Finland and Norway).

Odd that Addis Ababa has no GawC ranking? What is that about?? I'd like to include Addis Ababa and/or Nairobi, but who to drop?

Agree on leaving Kiev. A nation of 44 million, bread basket, also having been part of the USSR giving the former Russian sphere of influence more representation, especially since Russia itself has no strong third candidate city after Moscow and St. Petersburg (I honestly would probably not seriously consider any of the following cities for Top 100 status: Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, nor Kazan). Russia feels extremely underrepresented with only 2 cities. Kiev feels right, but probably near the bottom of the Top 100. Not to toot my own horn, but my original Top 100 was actually pretty good (it included Kiev). But, it just needs some fine tuning.

I guess Ahmedabad and Surabaya shall remain on the List for now. I really wish Indonesia had a stronger second city as most people would want Surabaya off the List. It's still an almost 5 million populated urban area, and gives Java better representation as an island with a 140+ million population (more than most countries even have), though obviously I am already including Jakarta. Surabaya is a tourist hotspot. Bandung is a possibility though instead?

Kinshasa is the biggest mega city, with over 15 million population that nobody, absolutely nobody, I mean NOBODY knows about. But how can we justify removing one of the world's largest cities, I mean 15 million!!? Good God that's a lot of people. It's more than most countries even have. Well, I mean basically Kinshasa and for that matter D.R. Congo have absolutely no influence today, but they probably will become very important in the future. For now, it's basically just a population center. Maybe it could be replaced with Nairobi or Addis Ababa? Though I'm not super convinced of that (I might undo the above swap). Addis Ababa is about 4 million and Nairobi is less than 6 million. They both are much more stable nations (not that it takes much to be more stable than D.R. Congo), with far more tourism and political influence. Including Kinshasa feels like an error to me... But I am still undecided on the fence...On an instinct I'd probably replace Kinshasa with Nairobi (Addis Ababa is so insanely close, I'd love to poll/debate these 2 or even 3 cities [including Kinshasa] actually)

Ahmedabad is just a stand-in for India (so India has 7 cities). I know it is home to 7 million people and is a very traditional Indian city. I don't think Ahmedabad today exerts much influence outside of India at all (maybe I'm wrong)? But, India is almost like an entire continent. Pune would be another possibile candidate city.

Do Doha or Caracas have a strong argument for inclusion? Doha is in an extremely small country, but is extraordinarily wealthy and has a massive, modern airport. Caracas is the capital of a large, 30 million nation, with the largest oil reserves on the planet (although said nation is undergoing a cataclysmic economic upheaval), and makes the news frequently. It is unfortunate that Caracas has suffered because just 10-20 years ago its inclusion in the Top 100 was assured.

We gave 7.5 cities to the Spanish-speaking world (I'm counting Barcelona as a half [trigger warning]). We only gave South America 7 cities and the Caribbean 0? We could add Medellín or Caracas? Other possibilities are Montevideo or Havana, neither of which I necessarily feel strongly about including.

Combining Guangzhou and Shenzhen is a probably a big no no. I mean most agencies even separate Dongguan out separately (which I slightly disagree). HK and Shenzhen is also a big no no since their separation is still behaves like an international border, and according to a woman I worked with, who was originally from near Shenzhen, you must have a special ID and/or passport to even enter HK from the Mainland (she had never been to HK)... These 3 cities all function as their own separate cities within the Pearl River Delta region. Guangzhou is the old Canton (lazy Europeans named it wrong?) which is very ancient but now also very built-up, Shenzhen was a small-fishing-village-turned-glitzy-Dubai, and of course HK is its own distinctive super-ultra-dense, hyper-urban, mega financial hub / British colony turned quasi/actual China by force controversy. Guangzhou to Shenzhen is 1 hour 42 min (with no traffic) or 138.4 km (shy of 86 miles) whereas NYC to Philadelphia is 1 hour 30 min (with no traffic) or 97.4 miles. We wouldn't combine NYC and Philadelphia on the List, so we wouldn't combine Guangzhou and Shenzhen is an argument, I guess. Even though they are quite close and overlap extensively, they probably have their own defined labor market and are viewed seperately.

I do however combine Amsterdam-Rotterdam in my Top 100 (1 hour 5 minutes, no traffic, just shy of 50 miles, also passes by The Hague, home of the international court). It should be the only hyphenated city area on the List (Pretoria was dropped from Johannesburg-Pretoria, as I feel most people already understand that Johannesburg refers to the entire capital region). I wish Cologne had better recognition as the whole Rhine-Ruhr area is so massive to not have a clear leader/core...uuuuughhh why are German cities this way?

Leaving Hamburg, Vancouver, and Dublin out of the Top 100 still feels odd. Also leaving out Oslo, Copenhagen, Auckland, Perth, and on some extent Helsinki, Guadalajara, Caracas, Doha, Kuwait City, Phoenix, San Diego, Denevr, San Juan PR, and/or Panama City, feels somewhat odd too. But again, this List is NOT easy. Adding someone means taking someone off. There's only so many slots available... As we both know, it's not the Top 100*, *featuring the world's top 120 cities.

Also, to revise a prior statement I made, I had in fact heard about Auckland, but very seldomly when I was growing up, as it is the location of a large book publisher (inside the cover of most books lists cities where they print, and Auckland was usually always one of the cities listed).

Assuming the above PROPOSED changes are made:

Europe 25
Asia EX China+HK 31
China+HK 13
Australia 2
N America 18
S America 7
Africa 4

Asia EX China+HK 31
China+HK 15
Australia 2
N America 18
S America 7
Africa 4

Again, manitopiaaa, I'd rep you friend, but I cannot. You have been so helpful with this thread!!!

Last edited by g500; 06-19-2020 at 10:37 AM..
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Old 06-19-2020, 04:15 PM
Location: PNW
676 posts, read 650,133 times
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Originally Posted by manitopiaaa View Post
Sorry, you talk for too long and I don't find there to be much value in continuing this discourse beyond this post. You can self righteously walk away on an internet forum and pretend you've "won" and I am not interested in convincing you further, but unless you write and publish an influential journal or website on city rankings that would encourage me to put this time and effort into lobbying for the inclusion of a city I happen to have property in, I don't really care what you end up deciding.

Acknowledgements of personal bias aside, I have a second property in Asia and have spent several years living there. I am not a white westerner who only thinks western cities are important; my own top 10 cities would be dominated by Asian cities (Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, honorable mentions to Taipei, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dubai and Mumbai in the top 20) as they outpace in many respects western cities outside of the Big 3 (New York, London, Paris).

But sorry, a tier 3 Asian city is not even near the influential level of Vancouver if you do any sort of academic reading in this field. It can employ 200,000 Bangladeshis in a factory but if it doesn't produce anything to effect changes in architecture, urban planning, industrial design, art, music, cuisine, and has significantly fewer articles written about it and discussing it, it doesn't matter. The internet and the daily global exchange of information, both cultural and academic, has made "influence" more about knowledge transfer than what happens on a day to day basis on the ground in 2020.

While I acknowledge your position is valid from a certain angle, I stand by mine. People who bother to enter this thread and the OP can make do with what is presented. If you think you wish to throw out Surabaya, Changsha, Busan and Ahmedabad as some Top 100 city instead of Vancouver, Zurich, Perth and Copenhagen then all the power to you; do get back to me when you get this published anywhere of any significance however, and is actually respected and cited. I have provided enough material - still there is more I didn't bother to link - to support my claims without needing to argue on a public internet forum about it. Do you, aside from grand claims of travel and dialogue?

Your claims of how "factor X doesn't matter" is as naive as "anglo-centric" bias, you are just too obstinate to see it for yourself. Who made you definitive arbiter of what metric matters, your claims of talking to more people around the world? If OP (g500) wants to play it by manitopiaa's multi-criteria evaluation, then state so and just collaborate on a list together over PM and publish it here. You don't need someone else's input.

But at the end of the day I hope the OP is fully aware s/he is publishing an anglo-centric list in an anglo-centric (US) forum against anglo-centric publications around the world. To portray yourself as completely impartial to the region, culture and language one's audience is misguided at best and sanctimony in its most insidious form.

Originally Posted by g500 View Post

Europe 25
Asia EX China+HK 31
China+HK 13
Australia 2
N America 18
S America 7
Africa 4

Asia EX China+HK 31
China+HK 15
Australia 2
N America 18
S America 7
Africa 4

For the OP, I think you mean well and have an unique position for a list, but I strongly recommend you actually stop listening to either of the two loudest voices in this thread, collate some published data around the world and present your findings to support your evidence. I trust you would actually find it to be more insightful and meaningful than asking on a forum (that doesn't even necessarily cater to academics in the field of urban planning or geography, check how dead the planning subforum is) and listening to claims of about "visiting 55 countries" and then claiming to be some sort of an authority figure.

There is really no need to pander to some quixotic quest for geographic inclusivity, such as X amount of NA cities, X amount of European cities, etc. I've seen respectable publications of Top 10 cities that have just New York, London and Paris flanked by 7 Asian cities. I've seen other equally valid publications using different weight criteria list out majority European cities with two Asian cities included in, by pure numerical merit adhering to the weighed factors rather than forced inclusion for geographic equity.

There also is no strong need to include X amount of cities for representation. Some countries are just heavily centralized in the way they have developed; in turn, they may not have many great cities worthy of a Top 100 inclusion, but their primate city is a Tier A+ Alpha World City.

Yes, this means if you end up with 9 Chinese cities and 15 American ones, 2 in the UK and 5 in India, it's totally fine if it matches the criteria you set out to look for. Remember, rank 1 isn't = rank 100, it's important to make that distinction. So if in the top of this list you have the Londons, Parises and Beijings, but relatively few cities of these places' respective countries in the remaining list, that's entirely fair and you are doing the country justice by ranking their top city so high.

Toronto would hardly be in consideration for the Top 20 for me, but there is enough there in Montreal and Vancouver to populate the rest of the Top 100. Just because China, the UK and France are bigger, doesn't mean they should respectively get "X" amount of cities as divided up by their GDP and population automatically.

Perhaps because their primate and capital cities are so significant that they draw and pull away from their tertiary cities, leading to weaker influences in those. This is one reason countries like Germany, Canada and Australia probably shouldn't have any cities near the Top 10, but would have a few in the Top 100.

I would still find an exclusion of Vancouver questionable in any Top 100 list, but it's not my list and as long as it's backed up by more than just dialogue and words but actual data. This forum is already littered with hot take lists and I think yours already had far more effort and thought put into it so I will check back later to see what you've finally come up with. The manitopiaa fellow needn't directly reply, I won't be reading (though he may try and continue to lobby you again for the inclusion of his favorite cities so maybe take my advice to do your own research on existing published material into account ).

Last edited by svelten; 06-19-2020 at 04:54 PM..
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