This chapter addresses the concept of the global city in international political economy (IPE), relating it to changes in the international financial system. It begins by looking at mega-events like the Olympic Games. The chapter shows how these are used in place branding strategies adopted by host cities, how they drive urban transformation through infrastructural investment, and how they have been politicized to challenge social injustice. It then considers the broader questions of what the concept of the global city reveals about the process of globalization; how urban development takes place, and the role of the state in managing this; and how the right to the city is being used to articulate and link up struggles against urbanized inequality. Finally, the chapter studies urban development, highlighting the racialized processes of gentrification and ableist environments.
This chapter describes the challenges posed by the concomitant growth of urban poverty and inequality, sometimes in the absence of economic growth, against a background that traces processes of urbanization, urban growth, and urban development in countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The exact relationship between experiences of poverty and city life remains unclear, and it may be important to redirect the questions being asked in relation to the city. Rather than focusing on 'life in the city', it might be more beneficial to ask what is necessary to ensure 'a city for life'. A key priority will be addressing the capacity of urban institutions and systems to meet the challenges of city management and urban governance in the context of social, economic, and demographic change. There is a need to recognize the physical, structural, and institutional role of 'the city' in shaping the experiences of and the responses to poverty.