The GLOBALIZATION AND WORLD CITIES RESEARCH NETWORK, commonly
abbreviated to GAWC, is a think tank that studies the relationships
between world cities in the context of globalization . It is based in
the geography department of
Loughborough University in Leicestershire
GaWC was founded by Peter J. Taylor in 1998, Together with Jon Beaverstock and Richard G. Smith , they create the GaWC's bi-annual categorization of world cities into "Alpha", "Beta" and "Gamma" tiers, based upon their international connectedness.
The GaWC examines cities worldwide to narrow them down to a roster of 307 world cities, then ranks these based on their connectivity through four "advanced producer services": accountancy, advertising, banking/finance, and law. The GaWC inventory ranks city economics more heavily than political or cultural factors. Beyond the categories of "Alpha" world cities (with four sub-categories), "Beta" world cities (three sub-categories) and "Gamma" world cities (three sub-categories), the GaWC cities include additional cities at "High sufficiency" and "Sufficiency" level.
The following is a general guide to the rankings as of the most recent (2016) update:
ALPHA++ CITIES are vastly more integrated with the global economy than all other cities.
ALPHA+ CITIES are the eight cities that complement London and New York City by filling advanced service niches for the global economy.
ALPHA AND ALPHA- CITIES are the 13 and 22 cities, respectively, that link major economic regions into the world economy.
The GaWC global cities according to the 2016 study:
BETA LEVEL CITIES are the 78 cities that link moderate economic regions into the world economy.