Annual RC21 Conference 2011

The struggle to belong. Dealing with diversity in 21st century urban settings
Amsterdam (The Netherlands), July 7-9 2011

Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research – Urban Studies
University of Amsterdam – The Netherlands

8. World Cities

The panel focuses on world cities by exploring important ways in which these cities’ shapeshifting nature is rooted in their involvement in global networks. The world’s great cities are recognized as hubs in the transnational flows of information, capital, commodities, and people. As a consequence, the ‘tiles’ in the urban ‘mosaic’ become ‘unglued,’ then shift in response to the fluidity of the many interdependent processes in which these cities are embedded and of which they are constituted: capital investment/disinvestment, restructuring, in-/out-migration, class/ethnic relations, urban development/redevelopment, the actions/inactions of states, and so on. Individuals, firms, states (at all levels), and NGOs are increasingly challenged by the kaleidoscoping nature of these cities in relation to global dynamics. Exploring where cities are located in the global network of urban places and how their locations change over time, allows us to pry into the nature of globalization in relation to urbanization, with respect to both world cities in general (including the world city network) and specific world cities in particular.  Recent world city research recognizes that world city formation is a product of multiple global processes that are not always tightly bundled, especially when considered longitudinally. Therefore the composition and shape of global networks of cities depends upon which processes the researcher considers and at which points in time. 

Relevant paper topics include:

  • explorations of how particular cities become inserted at various levels in the global world city network,
  • how the global network of world cities is configured and changes over time, or
  • how actors within global cities navigate the shifting landscape of cities that are in the throes of world city formation.

Michael Timberlake, University of Utah. Email:

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21 December 2011
Deadline for abstract submission

10 January 2011
Notification of selected abstracts

1 March 2011
Registration open

15 May 2011
Deadline for early bird registration and for (some) hotel options

15 May 2011
Deadline for paper submission

15 June 2011
Papers online

7-9 July 2011