Globalization is often viewed as having a homogenizing effect. It increases competition between cities that then pursue similar strategies to capture footloose global investment. The top world cities become models for others to emulate. Similar skylines, prestige projects and policy initiatives can be found across the major cities of the world. However, in our contribution to this book we would like to show that such a perspective is exaggerated. We follow Abu-Lughod (1999) in believing that history, tradition and culture make a difference to the way in which cities respond to the pressures of economic globalization. In particular we focus on the relationship between the market, state and civil society. In our view each country has developed a national consensus around the appropriate balance between these three elements. Although this may continue to be debated and subject to shifts with changes in governments, significant core values remain and allow distinct differences in approach to be identified between countries.