Urban Globalisation

Urban Globalisation


Written by:

J Miguel Kanai, Richard Grant and Radu Jianu

First Published:

27 Aug 2017, 12:00 am

Urban Globalisation

Cities on and off the map: A bibliometric assessment of urban globalisation research

A new paper by J Miguel Kanai, Richard Grant and Radu Jianu is now available online


Growing out of writings on Global (North) cities, urban globalisation research (UGR) has expanded its canon to engage with an increasing diversity of cities and locations. Yet, this broadening has been uneven and controversial in its theoretical horizons and empirical universe. Focusing on the latter, this paper combines bibliometric, demographic, economic and georeferenced data to assess how UGR maps onto internationally documented cities (n: 1692). Our study analyses city-themed publications by city location, demographic size and home-country income (2000–2014). Drawing on social science publications indexed in English (Scopus database), our results provide grounds for cautious optimism: recent publications offer broader, though still uneven coverage. The moving spatial average of publication counts also implies that the topical centre of published research gravity is shifting away from Euro-America. Yet, UGR lags in its coverage of the urban geographical universe, failing to keep pace with the economic/demographic trends that are resulting in southward/eastward shifts in worldwide urbanisation. Furthermore, while smaller cities and those in lower-income countries are still sidelined, cities in upper-middle income countries exhibit the largest gaps between observed and expected publication values. In our conclusion, we contend that urban bibliometrics could be further mobilised to identify publication foci and lacunae. Applied to cities on and off the map and a broader universe of urban knowledges, bibliometrics could help move contentious debates forward, identifying newer paradigms that may be engaging the world of cities beyond the globalisation umbrella and charting out multiple and complex topical relations across variegated worlds of urbanism.

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