International Institute for Asian Studies
Asian Cities - With a special eye on contemporary developments, IIAS aims to explore the longstanding Asian urban "tradition", by exploring the origins of urbanism and urban culture in different parts of Asia and linking the various elements of city cultures and societies, from ancient to modern (colonial and post-colonial) times | Read more
Asian Cities close

The "Asian Cities" cluster explores modes of urban development in Asia, and deals with cities and urban cultures with related issues of flows and fluxes, od ideas and goods, cosmopolitism, "métissage", and connectivity at their core, framing the existence of vibrant "civil societies" and political micro-cultures.

Asia is experiencing a process of increasing human concentration built upon ancient urban traditions at a pace never before encountered. This unprecedented rate of change brings with it tremendous transformations framing new expressions of social, cultural and political modernity.

Keeping a close eye on contemporary developments, the cluster seeks to explore the longstanding Asian urban 'tradition', by discussing the origins of urbanism and urban culture in different parts of Asia, and by linking the various elements of city cultures and societies, from ancient to modern (colonial to postcolonial) times.

Through an international knowledge network of experts, research institutes and cities, it aims to create a platform for scholars and urban practitioners focusing on Asian cities 'in context' and beyond traditional western norms of knowledge, with the potential to evolve into a broad multi-disciplinary corpus contributing to the actual development of Asian cities today.

IIAS-CSEAS Winter School: Mapping the Aesthetics of Urban Life in Asia: A Dialogue with the Arts UKNA Macau Winter School Urban Heritage in Taipei

PRCUD Palembang forumPostcolonial Global City

Asian Cities Updates

IIAS Lunch Lecture
20 April 2017

Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong face severe and increasingly frequent flooding events, stemming from a rapid urban development that prioritises real estate and infrastructure while neglecting centuries-long traditions of urban design and living in harmony with the omnipresent water in the Pearl River Delta. In this lecture, Marcin Dąbrowski attempts to shine some light on the factors that affect the capacity to adapt to flood risk exacerbated by climate change of these three differentiated PRD Cities that operate in different governance contexts of mainland China and Hong Kong.


Building on the results of four years of EU-funded staff exchanges, the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) is now embarking on a new chapter. The success of the UKNA synergy has encouraged the network’s partners to carry on with their joint efforts, and steps are being taken to expand the...


Resettlement is a tool applied by many governments as a cure to social or environmental ailments, a step in infrastructure projects or an instrument of social engineering. People are resettled when the land has to be cleared for construction works, when natural disasters strike or environmental...


The Workshop on the Heritage of Ancient and Urban Sites sought to unravel the complex politics involved in the manufacturing of heritage. To understand how stake-holders from across Southeast Asia define and voice local priorities, twenty-two cultural heritage practitioners based in...


Reviewed title: Herzfeld, M. 2016. Siege of the Spirits: Community and Polity in Bangkok, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ISBN 9780226331584


Xinjiang’s largest cities have undergone a series of redevelopment programs over the last decade. The westerly autonomous region in China is inextricably connected to the romantic narrative of the Silk Road, a narrative that is used to legitimize the destruction and gentrification of historic...


Reviewed publication: Saglio-Yatzimirsky, M.C. 2013. Dharavi from Mega-Slum to Urban Paradigm, New Delhi/Abingdon: Routledge, ISBN: 9780415812528