Cities are mankind’s most enduring and stable mode of social organization, outlasting all empires and nations over which they have presided. Today cities have become the world’s dominant demographic and economic clusters.
As the sociologist Christopher Chase-Dunn has pointed out, it is not population or territorial size that drives world-city status, but economic weight, proximity to zones of growth, political stability, and attractiveness for foreign capital. In other words, connectivity matters more than size. Cities thus deserve more nuanced treatment on our maps than simply as homogeneous black dots.