Real estate services firms and the world city network

Authors: Ben Derudder*, Ghent University, Kathy Pain, Reading University, Peter Taylor, Northumbria University
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: World city network, real estate, producer services, globalization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Diplomat Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper complements and extends research on world city networks by adding a producer services sector, real estate, to the 2018 Globalization & World Cities (GaWC) research network’s analysis of inter-city relations. Conceptually, this is achieved by discussing the relevance of this sector by framing it in the context of the development of ‘central flow theory’. We argue that in twenty first century globalization, real estate firms play a key role in interlinking city commercial property markets and in mediating flows of real estate investment finance between cities worldwide. This implies real estate can add a new geographical lens to quantitative research on city networks using the interlocking network model (and modified versions thereof). Empirically, this is achieved through (1) a 2018 comparison of the connectivities of cities created by firms in the five other producer services sectors used in GaWC’s world city network analysis since the year 2000 (finance, accountancy, management consultancy, advertising, and law) and the connectivities of cities created by real estate firms; and (2) analysing whether real estate as a sector contributes to extensive or intensive globalization . We present an overview of the major geographical dimensions of the city networks created by the world’s leading real estate firms, explore the main parallels and discrepancies between these city networks and those centred on other service sectors, and discuss how this informs our understanding of the literature on (cities in) globalization in general and world city networks in particular.

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