What about Los Angeles?

Admit LA to the alpha-city club

“North Atlantic prejudice has denied Los Angeles the global status it deserves.” (my emphasis)


The answer to this Financial Times (FT) op-ed piece is really very simple. The mistake from the journalist is when he says: “The notion of a global or “alpha” city is vague…”. No, it isn’t vague at all and, of course, has nothing to do with the extraordinary claim of ‘prejudice’! The global city and ‘alpha city’ have a very precise definition as international financial centres (IFCs) and as corporate service complexes. The lesser role L.A. plays in those economic sectors on a North American and global basis in comparison to New York and London is why it is ranked lower than them. Paradoxically, if you want to adopt a broader or different definition of a global city beyond banking, international finance and corporate service functions then L.A. would of course be ‘up there’ as a ‘global destination’ and center of entertainment but the definition of a global or alpha city would be very different and potentially so vague that it would be meaningless.

To fully understand why this is an all too common error (and to understand several other errors) see my 2013 research paper:

Smith RG (2013) “The ordinary city trap”, Environment and Planning A, 45 (10), October, 2290–2304

The Ordinary City Trap


Forthcoming Research Seminar Presentation on:

Why skyscrapers after Covid-19?’

Smith RG (2021) ‘Why skyscrapers after Covid-19?’, Vol. 134 (December), Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1dnO%7E3jdJdMmG
Free access available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8451974/

I will be talking on Wednesday December 8th @2pm in the Research Seminar Series for the Department of Geography at Swansea University about my proof-of-concept paper recently published in the journal Futures and how that paper is the basis for an application for research funding to undertake empirical research on skyscrapers in a way which spans the so-called ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ world.

Why skyscrapers after Covid-19?

My latest paper in Urban Theory is now published online in the journal – Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies

***FREE access until November 10th 2021 here to read or download***: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1dnO%7E3jdJdMmG

May be an image of text that says "Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection Public Health Emergency COVID- Initiative"
ALSO Free Open Access Here For The Duration Of The Pandemic: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8451974/?fbclid=IwAR0rRWCfHO1eXv2ihvlL15kttgirhs6cKqkP0Y6vZbkH5AOXdYomUJAfx2U


• Global cities and their skyscrapers will be more important after Covid-19 despite an increase in remote working.
• Skyscrapers outside of global cities, in both the Global North and South, will be less important after Covid-19.
• Skyscraper demand in global cities will strengthen to facilitate in-person interactions in specialized high-value fields.
• Global cities will drive GDP more than before, attracting wealth and demand for luxury residential skyscrapers.
• The location and usage of any skyscraper matters more than its height or reasons for construction.

AMASmith RG. Why skyscrapers after Covid-19?. Futures. 2021;134:102839. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2021.102839
MLASmith, Richard G. “Why skyscrapers after Covid-19?.” Futures vol. 134 (2021): 102839. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2021.102839
APASmith R. G. (2021). Why skyscrapers after Covid-19?. Futures134, 102839. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2021.102839
NLMSmith RG. Why skyscrapers after Covid-19? Futures. 2021 Dec;134:102839. doi: 10.1016/j.futures.2021.102839. Epub 2021 Sep 20. PMID: 34584275; PMCID: PMC8451974.

Rebuilding Swansea: The painful transformation of our cities, how they will look in a post pandemic future and who they will serve

Article: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/rebuilding-swansea-painful-transformation-cities-19895240#comments-section

I was interviewed for this newspaper article a couple of weeks ago. Far more of course could be said about the the future of Swansea city centre ‘after’ the pandemic. This is a very upbeat newspaper article about Swansea’s future. There is no mention of the impact of austerity or the pandemic on the incomes of Swansea’s residents and the consequences of that for the city centre, for example. In my comments I was keen to point to how a key risk to Swansea’s new redevelopment plans is that those plans assume a utility to living in the city centre; but that is a utility that is now less certain because of the pandemic.

New Chinese Translation Available

March (2018)

Translation to Chinese in the journal Governance Studies of:

Smith RG (2014) ‘Beyond the global city concept and the myth of “command and control”‘, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38 (1) January, 98-115:  .

The Full Chinese Reference (and Full Download) here: 治理研究 超越全球城市治理和_指挥与控制_的迷思_理查德_G_史密斯

Or visit the Governance Studies website to get the paper there.

Next Keynote – Invited Speaker for the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate 12th Annual Luxury Real Estate International Symposium

Speaker for the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate 12th Annual Luxury Real Estate International Symposium:

Dr. Smith’s presentation will focus on the exponential growth our world has seen of global cities in the 21st century, which cities are global leaders in the world today, and which will become global centers of the future. He will identify the networks that make globalization shape both existing global cities and enable new cities to either have a more global role as centres of economic and political power, or an economic specialization within the overall world city network. This talk will pull together the latest thinking, scholarship and reporting on the world’s cities to both identify the leading, established and emerging global cities across the world, and discuss the extent to which that knowledge about global cities explains and predicts the global market in prime luxury residential real estate.