Cities are the primary building block of organized human existence. The concept of civilization – as its etymology suggests – rests on the phenomenon of the city and its distinctiveness from life lived beyond its walls. There has always been a powerful identification between a city and an individual inhabitant. It is the oldest bond in organized politics and hence appropriate that the term “citizen” should have been shared with the larger scale polities as they have emerged.
As urban populations in cities grow their global influence expands as well. This week, PD News highlights the trend of cities conducting their own foreign policy.
The most important characteristic of the 21st century is the rise of cities. The world may obsess over whether a “Chinese century” is replacing an American one. But the real action is not in nations — but in their urban centres.
As evident in Sao Paulo, London, Singapore, and New York, the diplomatic role of global cities is increasing.
We sometimes feel like L.A. gets no respect. This megalopolis of billionaire media moguls, extraordinary global food and influential SoCal culture is still often treated by New York media as a backwater of undiscovered delights. But at least the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper gets us.
Cities are the future of the world. Over half the world's population lives in cities, and by the middle of the century more than seven in 10 people will live in cities, according to the United Nations. Almost all this urban growth will take place in emerging economies.
L.A. is a global city and so is our city's economy, which is why I'm in Mexico City right now on my first trade mission as Mayor. I am joined here by representatives of our Port, Airport, and Tourism & Convention Board as well as a business delegation organized by the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce.