How Urban Cultures and Economies reflect Globalization


Globalization has led to the realization of better opportunities inother countries. Before the age of globalization, countries wereignorant of the economic potential of other countries, especiallythose lying in faraway lands. European powers and the USA did notknow the opportunities available in South East Asia and the Pacificprior to the First World War. The opening of the Chinese market forall the contestants in 1912 introduced China to a world of newopportunities. China created new trade partners in Europe and hercitizens had the opportunity to travel to various countries aroundthe world.

Globalization did not take a toll on China alone, The USA and manyother countries in Europe also faced the effects of globalization-both positive and negative. This essay seeks to look at how urbancultures and economies propagate/perpetuate globalization in the USAand other cities abroad. It also looks at how urban culture andeconomies reflect immigration and globalization.

According to Yu (2004), urban cities are an embodiment ofglobalization. In this context, globalization primarily refers to themigrations of people from one place to another. The author begins bystating a common perception that nobody ever comes from Los Angeles.Most of the Hollywood celebrities in Los Angeles originated fromother countries and cities before gaining success in this city. Yu(2004) uses this example of Los Angeles to show how urban cities area major driving force for globalization in the USA.

Urban centers are known to attract many immigrants from severalplaces. For instance, immigrants from Mexico and other places in theworld do not move to the USA in order to reside in the countryside.Immediately the immigrants arrive in the USA, they will seekresidence in urban cities such as Los Angeles. The cities attractmany people because of their culture and economy, hence primarymotivators of globalization.

Urban cultures are welcome to many because they are usually a blendof several other indigenous cultures. Immigrants and other peoplemoving because of globalization are more likely to be comfortable inan urban setting than in the countryside. The culture of urbancenters is neither too conservative nor affiliated to a particularcultural group. The welcoming accommodating culture is particularlycharacteristic of urban centers that have been exposed to immigrationand globalization over a long period. On the other hand, small townsin the countryside have little or no exposure to immigration. Theirculture does not seem accommodating to many would-be immigrantsbecause it is basically a depiction of the natives living within thatland.

Although urban cities in the USA are a reflection of globalizationand immigrations, moving into these cities has not always been easy.As Yu (2004) notes, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 made sure thatimmigration for the undesirable races was restricted into the USA.During this era of racial discrimination when it came to immigration,USA urban cultures were not reflective of globalization. Forinstance, immigration into Los Angeles was restricted to the Chinese,Japanese, Indians, Mexicans, and people from Eastern and SouthernEurope. However, immigrants from Northern Europe were all welcomeinto the USA with open arms (Yu, 2004). This practice led to thenotion of White supremacy and the consequent classification of otherraces as inferior.

The economies of urban cities are also a reflection of globalizationand immigration. Businesses in cities often have a diverse workforce.It is easier to find different nationalities in the workforce ofurban economies than that of a countryside economy. The diverseworkforce in an urban economy is a result of many people migrationfrom different backgrounds in search of greener pastures in farawayurban cities. The technology, mode of operation, language, andbusiness ideas of an urban economy are all a reflection ofglobalization. For instance, most urban economies in the USA haveallocations for China Towns. These businesses within the urbaneconomy have different structures and operations, a true reflectionof globalization and immigration in the USA.

Urban cultures and economies perpetuate globalization abroad. Peopleare seeking to move to urban cities with diverse workforces andbudding economies. Just like in the USA, restrictions in immigrationsand citizenship were also prevalent abroad. For instance, during thefirst half of the 20th Century, dual Citizenship in manyEuropean countries was restricted. According to Sassen, the rivalrythat exists between some of the European countries, such as Englandand Germany, made it impossible for citizens of these countries tohave dual citizenship status (Sassen, 2013).

However, in the late 20th Century, many countries inEurope opened up to the idea of dual citizenship and many people wereable to migrate into their cities of choice. The adoption of dualcitizenship gave the urban cultures and economies of European citiesto propagate globalization and immigration. People were attracted bythe richness in culture and diversity of these cities. As more peopleimmigrated into these cities, they blended with the natives therebycreating an economy that is culturally diverse.


Sassen S. 2013. The repositioning of Citizenship emergent subjectsand spaces for politics. Berkeley Journal of Sociology 464-26.

Yu, H., 2004. Los Angeles and American Studies in a Pacific World ofMigrations. American Quarterly 56(3) 531-543