However, the fact remains that the concept of a ‘world city’ is not so simple as this. Often referred to as ‘global city’ or sometimes as ‘alpha city’, a world city happens to be a very significant and important node point in the entire system of global economy. It has been a subject of researchers and empirical studies since long and is one of the most researched areas in the field of urban studies. Geography and urban studies are what the concept of world cities originates from, while globalization is the basis of this concept, considering the fact that the idea of globalization takes into account the hierarchy of the geographic locales in respect of importance to the operation of the global system.
It is not that a concept is formed in a day, especially when it concerns as vast an idea as ‘global/world city’. The development of the concept of world cities may not be as old as the global cities themselves. Again, it has also to be kept in mind that the idea of a world city is not just like another of the thousand novel concepts that should better be described as the byproducts of globalization in the modern age. The development of the concept of a world city or a global city has quite a long and rich history. The volume of research works by scholars in all countries in the world and the growing interest in the concept of world city testify to its immense importance in the world of empirical studies. The purpose of this paper is to explore and discuss the factors related to the development of the concept of a world city and also to discuss the contemporary research that provides new insights into the hierarchy of world cities.
Before we start exploring the development of the concept of a world city, we have to understand that development of the general ideas about a world city and the development of empirical interests in the concept of world/global cities are not the same.