How do the world's cities compare? A think-tank on cities in globalization, the GaWC, analyzes cities on the basis of economic metrics and inter-relations. The results match surprisingly well with our intuitive sense of what makes a "great city". A key component of the GaWC analysis is the command-and-control structure of the world's economy: which cities have the most corporate headquarters, revenues, employees, and so on.
With this focus in mind, I created an exploratory data visualization of cities in the world economy, using Tableau software. This data was collected by GaWC in 2012 and cover a number of economic measures and industrial sectors. Ways of visualizing this data include geographic maps, rankings, and treemaps (a space-filling algorithm). Perspectives are offered in two dashboards, one each for city and country levels.
The result is a fascinating look at how cities direct the world economy. A few insights emerge from exploring this visualization:
- Tokyo has the world's largest concentration of corporate headquarters. The country with the largest concentration, though, is the USA. This discrepancy arises from the dispersal of American headquarters among such places as New York, Silicon Valley, and elsewhere.
- Certain industrial sectors show a geographic pattern that differs from the overall. Key examples include the energy and IT sectors.
- This data may not fully represent the scale of the Indian economy, which is worth following up on at a future date.
So, what insights do you find in exploring this data?