Push & Pull of Global Cities

I work for a company that is very much part knowledge and service industries and contributes to the networked economy. To grow and adapt, it has embraced the concept of global cities. Sassen states “global city brings a strong emphasis on the networked economy because of the nature of the industries that tend to be located there1“. Therefore enables us to access skills and knowledge that not available (or affordable) here in Melbourne. Our office is in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Through local, national and global information architecture, we can have specialist staff in Chicago and Hyderabad.

We also have clients in New York and San Francisco, and they utilise our services here in Melbourne. An almost circular transfer of money. Overlay the other businesses in our building, every other building in the CBD, including international students the spider-web of infrastructure stretches well beyond the physical geography.

Even our small team is made up of eight different nationalities, which helps us connect to multilingual and offshore business communities. We often work from home, connecting our homes to the central business district. We still meet face-to-face thanks to video conferencing. But if the power goes out or the NBN slows down to dial-up speed (which happens) the networked workplace collapses.

Many of us are parents, and this enables us to address the needs of the family and work. It is still far from perfect, but in an era that requires both parents to work, it can be the best option available. I can see how, in some communities, this would enable women to be more active in the workforce or even to be educated.

The podcast mentioned that affordable housing had pushed people further away from the CBD. I’m not sure we have seen centralisation gain traction yet remote workers are definitely on the increase. I also worked on a campaign to lobby for the development of a “10-minute community” near Corio. Masterplanned community which has identified that to attract home buyers in that specific location it will need to be self-sustaining with education, retail and work. If you have tried to get from Geelong to Melbourne in peak hour by train or car, you’ll understand why.

  1. Nugent, David, and Joan Vincent. 2007. A Companion to the Anthropology of Politics. Blackwell Companions to Anthropology. Blackwell.