Many world cities are undergoing successful rebirths, but many see the smaller so-called "second cities" as the true hubs for long-term economic success.
"Some cities seem to have the ability to revitalize themselves and regain the world-class status they once held. Hong Kong is a perfect example: Once a leader in mass production, it morphed first into a trading hub and later transformed itself a banking and communications center. The city remained dynamic in spite of occasional setbacks and its people never lost their confidence."
"Monster-sized cities in the developing world are growing like cancerous tumors. But it's a trend that can be misleading. Even if the big cities are getting bigger, it's the mid-sized ones that are growing even faster. Half of all city dwellers live in metropolitan areas with 500,000 inhabitants or less. Especially in the Western world it's the so-called "second cities" rather than the overpopulated metropolises that are growing and are often culturally more interesting: San Francisco instead of Los Angeles, Barcelona not Madrid, and Hamburg instead of Berlin."
"In a world increasingly tied together by globalization and technology, second cities have an easier time flourishing away from larger urban areas. 'As soon as a city reaches a certain size, its economic productivity starts to sink,' says Mario Pezzini, a deputy director at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. An expert on regional competitiveness, he believes the turning point comes once a metropolitan area reaches 6 million inhabitants. After that, higher rents, commuter distances and general urban chaos begin to drag a city down and 'create a situation where at best the center remains a desirable place -- but only for the rich.'"