The notion of "world cities" has become prominent in recent years. However, the notion remains focused on rich countries cities. Large cities in less advanced countries could legitimately pretend to have also a "world" role. Obviously, these cities differ from the richer cities in a number of ways: they are more subject to the economic, political, and cultural impact of major foreign actors - governments, corporations, international organisations, universities, media industries. The resources they can draw on are much more limited as they too have to make more investments in infrastructure to meet the standards expected by foreign investors; and their population is younger and growing rapidly.
The pressure to transform the existing city reflects the fact that the standard of living of a significant proportion of the population has - or will - dramatically improved. It also conveys the fact that the inequalities are no longer bearable. At the same time, increased integration in the global economy exposes the populations to sudden reversals of fortune that are not cushioned by public systems of support which might exist in richer cities.
Along with the forces of globalisation, the strength of the national State and the power of popular movements have to be recognised as engine for change. States may be weak, popular movements may be dormant, but the public authorities, or popular movement, still constitutes a major driving force for changes