The 3D GIS foreign investment model has been developed by Ronald Wall at The University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg and Erasmus University Rotterdam. The animation was created together with Alex Levering and forms a supplement to the recently published report "UN State of African Cities 2018: The geography of African investment". @WALLGLOBALCITY
This animation depicts total foreign direct investment (FDI) received by approximately 1200 cities around the world (2003 - 2014). Because these cities receive investment it is called destination FDI. The study is based on data from fDi Markets and ORBIS.
FDI is the investment made by multinational firms in particular cities, into production, control, services and marketing facilities around the world. These flows of capital tie world cities together into an extremely complex but hierarchic network and form an uneven geography of investment.
FDI is one of the key indicators of a city's integration into the world economy and explains about 50% of global GDP. These foreign investments are in most cases beneficial to urban development but can often have a negative impact.
Through econometric and GIS analysis the effect of FDI on global cities can be measured, or alternatively, used to measure the factors which attract investments to cities. Based on these results, urban recommendations can be made and policy developed on how to support a city's economic growth and make it more competitive and inclusive.
In the animated globe, we see that the world economy is not even, but instead the geographic distribution of FDI is very disproportionate (spiky). It is evident that the Global North holds most investment, while the majority of the world's population is situated in the Global South. It is also seen that the highest density of investment is in Europe, North America, and Pacific Asia.
Understanding the urban determinants of FDI flows (for different industrial sectors) is one of the key challenges in developing sustainable cities. Only when we address cities as being part of complex regional and global systems, can we really take on the challenges of sustainability, resilience and smartness. It is this complex economic system that forms the backbone of the predicaments of climate change, and rising economic and social inequality, at local, regional and global scales.
With big data availability and increasingly powerful algorithms and methods, an era has arrived where it becomes possible to technically and politically address the functional performance and structural geography of this disproportionate worldwide system. TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE WORLD URBAN SYSTEM.
This research forms part of the UN-Habitat report "State of African Cities 2018: The Geography of African Investment".
The author can be contacted on Twitter at @WALLGLOBALCITY or on LinkedIn Ronald Wall