“Ma ville par satellite”: Centrality yes, but where is “the City”?
Centrality is best manifest in the city: most of central functions in our world operate from cities. And, in our imagination, “centre” is something we find in a city or around a city: city centre, downtown, commercial centre, administrative centre, central district, etc. This is mostly true (not completely, we discuss this matter in a future post).
The new Parisian exhibition “Ma ville par satellite” by the Centre national d’études spatiale (CNES) puts forward cities’ centralities viewed from space. Here New York, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, Cairo and Dubai, amonsgt others, are shown in large-scale photographs: all are important cities and most of them are part of the network of global cities (Cf. http://centrici.hypotheses.org/46). The venue is the Station Luxembourg’s platform, at the RER B Line.
The most global of these cities, New York, is depicted in its most central aspect: Lower Manhattan and up to the Empire State Building. It is no secret: New York, when it comes to centrality, can be considered a central place per excellence.
The other cities showed in the Expo are central, in a way or another, in their geography and history: Rome is Rome (Does it need an explanation?); Tokyo is one of the most important global cities and capital of the third largest economy in the world; Paris is Paris et sera toujours Paris; Dubai is an emerging centrality and the actual hub and financial centre of the Middle East; Cairo is the biggest city around the Mediterranean and in the African Continent, even if it is not “too much” central for financial transactions (Plus the photo shows the Pyramids…); Some others: San Francisco, Doha and Shaghai, are shown. But where is London? Where is the most important global city in the Old World?!
To the eyes of a doctoral student who works on centrality the absence of London is astonishing: it concentrates the most important financial functions and aerial transport hubbing on the western edge of Eurasia; it also does insure the connection between the Old and the New worlds. Plus the sovereign who reigns in London reigns also in Ottawa, in Canberra and in Wellington, and in many other capitals throughout the world. Thus the pertinent question is: where is London, where is the most global city of London?! Does it not deserve a large-scale photograph of the Square Mile and Westminster?