The quest to become a world city: Implications for access to water

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The ambition to be recognized as a 'World City' or 'Global City' is rapidly increasing not the least among cities in the global south such as Hyderabad in India and Johannesburg in South Africa. While such a status seems promising for attracting foreign capital and for expanding the economic potential of urban areas, it may have adverse impacts on the hinterland and contribute to growing urban inequality. Therefore, in this paper, the government initiatives inspired by world-city visions in Johannesburg and Hyderabad are analyzed in order to explore the social and environmental implications of the rhetoric around becoming a world city. By demonstrating the disparity in water access, the paper argues that the promises of city development plans in terms of social integration and 'world-class service' provision for all citizens, have not been fulfilled. Instead, the narrative of world-class cities in Hyderabad and Johannesburg open new avenues for the accumulation of wealth among the financial and political elite. Hence, the quest to become world cities will likely exacerbate the inequality gap within urban areas in the two cities. (c) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Free keywords

  • Urban development plans
  • World city
  • Social inequality
  • Water provision
  • Hyderabad
  • Johannesburg


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