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Revisiting gateway cities: connecting hubs in global networks to their hinterlands

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Gateway cities have received much attention from urban geographers. In spite of outstanding contributions being made, we think that the concept needs to be revisited with regard to regional development implications. Bringing together research on global production networks (GPNs) and world cities, this article shows that gateway cities are critical for development in networks, generating impulses for peripheral locations by engaging them in processes of “strategic coupling.” Yet, gateway cities also concentrate segments of GPNs to the detriment of their hinterlands. We conceptualize gateway cities with the aid of five features: logistics and transport, industrial processing, corporate control, service provision and knowledge generation. Our concept allows for an understanding of cities in global and regional economic processes beyond corporate headquarters, corporate services and governance – that is, beyond the boundaries of existing research. It unsettles traditional understandings of strategic coupling and world cities, filling a lacuna on city–hinterland connections.
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Keywords: Gateway cities; Singapore; global production networks; oil and gas industry; world cities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography, University of Hanover, Hanover, Germany 2: Institute of Geography, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Publication date: October 21, 2019

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