May 21, 2015 | By Richard C. Longworth

On Global Cities

As leaders from global cities around the world prepare to converge at the inaugural Chicago Forum on Global Cities May 27-29, the concept, context and definition of global cities remain relatively unexplored. In my new book, On Global Cities, I take a fresh and focused look at global cities — what they are, why they are special, what makes them global, how they emerged, and where they are going. Watch a video preview of On Global Cities.

On Global Cities, available today also through Amazon, iTunes, and Android, synthesizes the latest literature on the nascent field of global cities. My work traces the emergence of global cities through globalization and defines the essential elements required to make a city global in nature. It further illuminates the relationships between global cities and their more locally focused neighbors, showcasing the “high fliers” along the way and diagnosing ills of the modern global city.

On Wednesday, May 27, I will discuss what makes a global city with the Financial Times’ Edward Luce.


Richard Longworth is nonresident senior fellow on global cities at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and author of On Global Cities and Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism, on the impact of globalization on the American Midwest. He also was a distinguished visiting scholar at DePaul University and adjunct professor of international relations at Northwestern University, and is a mentor at the Harris School at the University of Chicago.


| By Richard C. Longworth

Farmers Fighting Back

It will be news to most Midwestern farmers that they should turn an unused corner of their barns into a public relations department. But they do, and it looks like this may be happening.

| By Richard C. Longworth

A Midwestern Poet

In this season of noisy discord, when Midwestern states and cities compete for bad jobs and large young men concuss each other on Saturdays for our amusement, it’s good to be reminded that our region still harbors poets who speak to our better natures and to more homely verities.

| By Richard C. Longworth

A Meeting of the Minds in Chicago

Can major research universities use the immense resources at their command – the storehouses of data, the research techniques, the expertise in analyzing problems, mostly their sheer brainpower – to help solve the problems of the great cities where many of them reside? It seems obvious that the answer is yes, but for many universities, this leap from theory to practice remains a step too far.

| By Richard C. Longworth

Cities on Their Own

What with dysfunction in Washington and incompetence in state capitals, the spotlight is shifting to the role of cities, not only as arenas of democratic governance but simply as places where things get done. It’s early days yet for this debate, but two new books are setting an agenda.

| By Richard C. Longworth

Looking at Gift Horses

More than any other country, the United States looks to philanthropists and their giving to fill the gaps – cultural, social, civic, educational – left unattended by either the market or the government.

| By Richard C. Longworth

The Tea Party and the Midwest

The natural habitat of the Tea Party is usually seen as the unreconstructed reaches of the Old South. If people want to blame Dixie for the recent government shutdown, we should probably let it go at that. But the fact is that many Tea Party stalwarts spring from the Midwest, for reasons we should heed.

| By Richard C. Longworth

First Steps Toward a Real Chicago Region

Three states – Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana – came together in Chicago’s Loop recently to talk about their common future. They didn’t decide anything and the conversation itself revealed how far they have to go. But this meeting simply wouldn’t have happened two years ago, and that’s progress in itself.

| By Richard C. Longworth

Growth for Both Mega-Farms and Market Farms

Have you been to a farmers’ market recently? I hit a downtown Chicago market before lunch today, picking up some last-minute sage and yellow beets for tonight’s dinner. The city’s Federal Plaza was packed with kiosks, all doing a brisk business.

| By Richard C. Longworth

The Mexican Connection: Drugs in the Midwest

The epidemic of inner city murders in Chicago is well known. Less well known is the spread of heroin and other drugs to the rural counties of the Midwest. The link between these two pathologies is virtually unknown, but is crucial to an understanding of the Midwestern battlefield in the drug wars.