Network Cities and the Global Structure of the Internet

Anthony Townsend
([email protected])
Taub Urban Research Center
New York University



Cities have played an important role in the process of globalization as centers for information exchange. Urban scholars note a handful of dominant financial services centers - so-called "global cities" - have dominated international telecommunications networks. Yet these and others have failed to understand how new telecommunications technologies, particularly, the Internet are enabling a far broader diffusion of international inter-urban connectivity - a far more complex global web than in earlier eras.

This article presents evidence on the Internet backbone that traditionally dominant urban hubs for international communications - London, New York, and Tokyo - are increasingly being supplemented by other hubs within their regions. The global structure of the Internet reflects a shift in the geography of telecommunications networks, and the emergence of a network of network cities. To cope with this challenge, urban planners are urged to address three issues: dependency on other cities and urban areas, accessibility to global Internet backbone networks, and proficiency with communications technology.

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With support from the National Science Foundation, under the Urban Research Initiative
(C) 1999, 2000, 2001 Taub Urban Research Center, New York University
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