Thursday, May 10, 2012

The San Jose Blog Turns 3!

After 3 years, over 1100 posts, and half a million visits... I'm going to take a moment to go back to the original premise of this blog--to show that San Jose is a world-class city. But how the heck do you measure world-class? It seems like something that is completely subjective.

Well, it turns out that there is an organization called GaWC that objectively defines, categorizes, and ranks "global cities" based on multiple criteria. They are also based out of the UK, further increasing objectivity when it comes to US cities. Their criteria for global cities includes:

  • Economic characteristics: corporate headquarters, financial output, number of financial services companies, cost of living, etc.
  • Political characteristics: influence on and participation in international events and world affairs, hosting headquarters for international organizations, demographic diversity, etc.
  • Cultural characteristics: museums, galleries, film festivals, professional sports teams, educational institutions, tourism, historic features, etc.
  • Infrastructural characteristics: advanced transportation systems, mass transit, major international airports, communications, hospitals, prominent skylines, etc.

Their research is legitimate and well respected internationally. They have 4 different levels of global cities:

  1. Alpha Cities - very important world cities that link major economic regions and states into the  global economy
  2. Beta Cities - important world cities that link their region or state into the world economy
  3. Gamma Cities - world cities linking smaller regions or states into the world economy
  4. Sufficiency Cities - There are NOT considered world cities, but have sufficient services so as to not be overtly dependent on world cities

Each "global city" category is further subdivided into normal, plus, or minus... similar to letter grades in school. Sufficient cities can either have a "sufficiency" or "high sufficiency" ranking.

Okay, now the real question... how has San Jose done based upon the research?

2000 Rankings: High Sufficiency

2004 Rankings: High Sufficiency  

2008 Rankings: Sufficiency  

2010 Rankings: Gamma+  

There you have it folks. In the latest rankings, San Jose is now objectively considered to be a world-class city for the first time. I've said many times before that we're on a great trajectory, and now there is even scientific data to back it up. The future is only going to get brighter and there is so much to look forward to. Soon we'll have new teams to root for (Earthquakes, A's, and the South Bay 49ers), more transit options (BART, BRT, Zipcar), and tons of development projects Downtown, Midtown, and on North First.

Thanks for reading and for any and all contributions you make towards making our city a better place!


  1. Congrats to the blog and to the city!

  2. Woot! Thanks for all your write ups.

    (The link to GaWC isn't pointing to the right place, btw. Probably want to link it to ?)

  3. YAYYY! congrats!!

  4. Happy Anniversary to the blog and congratulations! We'll look forward to many more years of posts!

  5. Thanks Josh for the awesome blog! A true breath of fresh air that focuses on the positive of SJ. The future of our city is bright my friend and I look forward to experiencing it with you and others. Go A's and Go San Jose!

  6. Congratulations on 3 years of blogging! And thank you for always being such an enthusiast of our great city! :)