There are now more than 300 city-regions around the world with populations greater than one million. At least twenty city-regions have populations in excess of ten million. They range from familiar metropolitan agglomerations dominated by a strongly-developed core such as the London region or Mexico City, to more polycentric geographic units as in the cases of the urban networks of the Randstad or Emilia-Romagna. Everywhere, these city-regions are expanding vigorously, and they present many deep challenges to researchers and policy makers as we enter the 21st century. The processes of world-wide economic integration and accelerated urban growth make traditional planning and policy strategies in these regions increasingly problematical while more fitting approaches remain in a largely experimental stage. New ways of thinking about these processes and new ways of acting to harness their benefits and to control their negative effects are urgently needed.
The concept of global city-regions can be traced back to the "world cities" idea of Hall (1966) and Friedmann and Wolff (1982), and to the "global cities" idea of Sassen (1991). We build here on these pioneering efforts, but in a way that tries to extend the meaning of the concept in economic, political and territorial terms, and above all by an effort to show how city-regions increasingly function as essential spatial nodes of the global economy and as distinctive political actors on the world stage. In fact, rather than being dissolved away as social and geographic objects by processes of globalization, city-regions are becoming increasingly central to modern life, and all the more so because globalization (in combination with various technological shifts) has reactivated their significance as bases of all forms of productive activity, no matter whether in manufacturing or services, in high-technology or low-technology sectors. As these changes have begun to run their course, it has become increasingly apparent that that city in the narrow sense is less an appropriate or viable unit of local social organization than city-regions or regional networks of cities. One tangible expression of this idea can be observed in the forms of consolidation that are beginning to occur as adjacent units of local political organization (provinces, Länder, counties, metropolitan areas, municipalities, départements, and so on) search for region-wide coalitions as a means of dealing with the threats and the opportunities of globalization. In this process, we argue, global city-regions have emerged of late years as a new and critically important kind of geographic and institutional phenomenon on the world stage.
KUALA LUMPUR CITY-REGION…GLOBAL OR LOCAL?
The dominance of a nation in a global economy has been directly linked to the emergence of global city; which become the global command and control centre, such as New York, London and Tokyo. Drawing on Kuala Lumpur’s experience and its city region, this thesis aims to analyse the city’s transformation, positionality, competitiveness as well as its niches in the global city network system particularly in the context of Asia Pacific region. The objectives of this thesis are explored and revealed through three main parts of this research. The first part concentrates on the description of the spatial and functional transformation of Kuala Lumpur and its city region, through its national and supranational economic engagement over the past four decades. Based on secondary data, the study reveals that Kuala Lumpur city region had experienced substantial spatial and functional transformation, beginning particularly in the early 1990’s.
This suggests that Kuala Lumpur has responded positively to the exogenous and endogenous forces, and is integrated in the mainstream of global economy. Nevertheless, do these changes elevate Kuala Lumpur to a global status, often measured with reference to existing indicators of global cities? This question has been dealt in the second part of the research. Using a set of questionaire, a field study has been carried out on 61 respondents, comprised chief executive officers from two groups of samples. These groups are, firstly FORTUNE Global 500 firms operating in the Klang Valley; and secondly the MSC’s (Multimedia Super Corridor) status companies. Perception of respondents pertaining to the city’s indicators, positionality, competitiveness and its niches are then measured in likert scale and statistically tested using Mann-Whitney U test.
Hamzah Jusoh in his PhD research on Kuala Lumpur in Asian Pacific City Regions Network showed that Kuala Lumpur’s achievement has to be complied to the same set of indicators, applicable to cities in developed countries. This is inevitably to ensure Kuala Lumpur to be as competitive as cities in the developed countries. By using validated indicators and measured through the Index of Global Cities Indicators, the study reveals that the global-city region of Kuala Lumpur has positioned herself at the intermediate level in the global city network system, with the index value of 61.61%. What does its mean in term of competitiveness, comparative advantages and niches of Kuala Lumpur in the Asia Pacific region? This has been dealt in the third part of the thesis, which focuses on a comparative study with selected global cities in the Asia Pacific region. Based on the primary data sources obtained from questionaires as well as supporting secondary informations, this study reveals that Kuala Lumpur is relatively positioned in a less dominant role compared to the other cities in the region, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and Seoul. However, its position has been somewhat better than Shanghai and Bangkok.