While not every city can be classified as a recognized global city, one can take the spirit of its characteristics and apply it to becoming a global-minded neighborhood. This is especially relevant given that diversity is linked to economic growth.
The following are the elements of a global city, followed by how a neighborhood can apply its mentality:
– International, first-name familiarity – “Paris” (pictured), not “Paris, France”. Neighborhoods that don’t need the city’s name attached include the French Quarter and Greenwich Village – that’s when you know your neighborhood has become a world unto itself. No coincidence that such places tend to be walkable, creative, human-scaled.
– Influence on and participation in international affairs – While a global city will host international summits, a global-minded neighborhood will have a day-day international online social and business network. Outsourcing here isn’t politically incorrect, it’s survival.
– A fairly large population (at least one million, typically several million) – A global neighborhood need only have the density of a global city, not the size, to ensure constant, spontaneous physical connections that lead to virtual international ones.
– A major international airport – A global-minded neighborhood won’t have an air hub, but it will have comprehensive broadband wi-fi to allow multi-person videoconferencing.
– Freeways and/or a large mass transit network – Global-minded neighborhoods were fortunate to bypass the industrial age proliferation of freeways, and while they may not have sophisticated mass transit, they don’t need it if they’re inherently walkable – the most effective transportation infrastructure overall.
– International cultures and communities (ie Chinatown, Little Italy) – Diverse neighborhoods are too small to have ethnic neighborhoods, but they’ll have a reputation for being a hub of ethnic restaurants (like Adams Morgan) and immigrants.
– A lively cultural scene (ie film festivals; music or theatre scenes; art galleries, street performers) – A global-minded neighborhood will have smaller versions of all of these, and of course, representing music from all over the world.
Thanks to Christian MacAuley of Fab Apps for the reference!
Image source: Paris by A-List.