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

The Times Does It Again

The Sunday New York Times these days seems to be edited by the descendants of Saul Steinberg, the New Yorker cartoonist who drew the famous Gotham-centric map of the United States. Steinberg’s map showed nothing much between the Hudson River and the Pacific except Las Vegas and a couple of mountains, and was intended as a parody of a parochial New Yorker’s view of the nation.     

| By Richard C. Longworth

A Dream Debased

On this fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s unforgettable speech during the March on Washington, my thoughts turn to Frank Lumpkin.

| By Richard C. Longworth

More On Inequality

The news about growing inequality and middle-class decline – in the Midwest, in the country, even abroad – keeps flowing in. As promised, we’ll keep an eye on this news and, from time to time, will pass on the more interesting and insightful articles.

| By Richard C. Longworth

Marriage, Fire and Errant Pols

The Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, giving new energy to the drive for same-sex marriage and guaranteeing that more states will legalize these marriages. This trend has economic as well as legal and romantic overtones, and the Midwest should pay attention.

| By Richard C. Longworth

It's Vacation Time

No new postings for the next couple of weeks. The Midwesterner is taking a summer vacation -- in the Midwest, naturally. See you in mid-July.

| By Richard C. Longworth

The Crisis of Food Deserts

Urban food insecurity is one of the crushing issues that plague American cities. It’s a fancy name for food deserts – the vast tracts of inner cities that hold millions of America’s poorest people but lack grocery stores or other sources of decent food for them to eat.

| By Richard C. Longworth

New Leaders in Midwestern Cities

There’s a breeze of fresh air blowing through some of the Midwest’s most hard-hit old industrial towns. A new generation of leaders is taking over, bringing new thinking and new initiatives to cities that have had little but decline and despair in recent decades.

| By Richard C. Longworth

Here Comes China, Bringing Money

China is sitting on $3.4 trillion (that’s trillion, with a T) in foreign exchange reserves, three times the stash of Japan, the only other global trillionaire. In the meantime, the U.S. economy badly needs more investment to put the recession behind it.

| By Richard C. Longworth

Trapped Without a Haven in Tornado Alley

The American Gothic House still stands on the edge of the tiny town of Eldon, Iowa, just where it was in 1930 when  the artist Grant Wood made it the backdrop to his famous painting, American Gothic. When the Dibble family built the little house in 1881, they put a proper cellar beneath it. That’s what you did in those days, to store preserves and to have a place to hide when a tornado hit.

| By Richard C. Longworth

A Must-Read Book on the Midwest

If the Dust Bowl produced John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie, and if the Southern catastrophe inspired a vast literature of loss, the industrial Midwest has had too few writers and bards to chronicle its decline and sing its blues.