Geographers have a long tradition of classifying cities using a number of criteria. Population size, industrial production, capital city functions, airline connections, sites of sporting events and major headquarters and banks are among them. While these studies are useful in looking at cities in an economy and population at a given point of time, they are less useful in assessing rapidly occurring changes within a regional or global system. Our research represents a new approach to classify cities and urban systems; we use the volume and networks/linkages or flows associated with electronic Information or “Knowledge worlds.” We argue that in order to understand more about cities and their relative positions within the current globalized Information World, we need to study not only tangible informational infrastructures and their associated material flows between places, but also the cyberspaces of cities in relation to digital information. We illustrate our approach by demonstrating a means of ranking European cities in respect of two topical current events global in their scope: the global financial crisis and the global climate change. We conclude by outlining an agenda for further work on hyperlink-based informational city rankings.
The research work is funded by the Research Foundation–Flanders.
Brunn, Stanley D.; Devriendt, Lomme; Boulton, Andrew; Derudder, Ben; and Witlox, Frank, "Networks of European Cities in Worlds of Global Economic and Environmental Change" (2010). Geography Faculty Publications. 24.