The Newsletter 55 Winter 2010

Urbanisation in East Asia

Gregory Bracken

Asia is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Economically and politically the region’s increasing importance has led some to see the 21st century as the Asian century. We are certainly likely to see an increasing shift from an Atlantic-centred world to a Pacifi c-centred one, with all the ramifi cations that that will bring. One of the major factors fuelling Asia’s remarkable growth is urbanisation. The articles in this issue of theFocus are about the cities of Asia, and the scholars who have undertaken the research outlined here, most of it ongoing, come from a variety of diff erent disciplines, including architecture, urbanism, sociology and the humanities. Their articles focus on East Asia and examine what cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Manila and Kuala Lumpur are doing for (and to) their countries, as well as the wider region as a whole. They examine how these cities are positioning themselves in a rapidly globalising Asia and how some of them have made canny use of models imported from the West, yet have managed to retain their own identity. Indeed, by melding the diff erent infl uences of East and West some of them have managed to create a new and dynamic urban environment.

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