Neuropolis Hypothesis: Outlining The Neural Model Of The World City Network As An Interdisciplinary Foundation Of The New City-Centric Economics For The Global Era

Location: 501D Knox Hall (inside the Sociology suite)

Two decades of research on world cites carried by international scholars organized around Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) provide robust evidence on the sharp rise of importance of cities as such and more importantly of the network mechanism behind them. The so called interlocking world city network (Taylor, 2004, 2011) has been dynamically researched over the past decade and there is a strong evidence and profound literature describing which cities participate in the network in global scale. Basing on current state of knowledge, we can say that the network perpetuates the global economy as it forms a network of flows of which cities are nodal points. There is also some evidence to support the hypothesis that the network, even though based on simultaneous multidirectional exchange, demonstrates significant hierarchical tendencies and malfunctions to both the very network structure and to the global economy (Liu, Derudder, Liu, 2011). The major challenge of city-centric approach to economics however lies in the relative lack of new interdisciplinary models capable of describing the phenomenon of the socioeconomic value creation in the world city network. In the search for valuable interdisciplinary inputs for a new socioeconomic model of the global economy, the presentation explores the neuroscientific apects of the world city network interpreted as global superbrain and contributing cities intepreted as neurons. Analyzing quantitative data of the most globalized 306 cities (more than 200 variables per each city describing economy, markets, talent pool, knowledge and potential), the author outlines the major hypotheses on the neural nature of flows of of capital, people and information between cities and the processing of these resources inside cities. The presentation advocates for application of the neuroscientific model of the human brain and nervous systems in its core and fundamental sense to model the world city network as information processing structure and the supercenter or a globally dispersed brain of the overal world’s economy with the cities interpreted as neurons. In this aspect to the knowledge of the researcher, the presentation is first attempt of its kind although it clearly corresponds with the existing concepts of superorganisms. By using analogies from neurological pathologies, the paper also forms hypotheses on the possible malfunctions of the world city network and reviews conceivable ways to prevent them.

Marek Banczyk is a visiting scholar in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Poznan University of Economics, Poland. He is contributing author of the Globalization and World Cities network (GaWC) and former expert to the intergovernmental high panels of OECD (Paris, 2006) and the United Nations (2008 Geneva, 2012 Doha). As Visiting Scholar at INCITE, Marek is working on bridging neuroscience, economics and sociology into a new interdisciplinary model of the world city network in which cities are interpreted as neurons.