I’m back to teaching, and yesterday in my undergraduate class on the city, I ask my young urbanists the question: What are the five most important cities in the world? We had five groups of nine students; all five groups listed New York; only one listed Bejing or New Delhi. We’re a US school, so we are going to have some bias towards western cities, but given the importance of New York in global financial capital, that choice is likely fair. Other important cities, according to intuition, are Hong Kong, London, and Tokyo.
I was surprised by Paris on one list, and I didn’t get time to follow up on their reasoning in class. What do you think? I’m not sure Paris is really important anymore. I certainly think it was culturally important, and it’s still a lovely city even today, but it doesn’t strike me as globally influential in the way that London is.