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
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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.

SEANNETIIAS-CSEAS Winter School: Mapping the Aesthetics of Urban Life in Asia: A Dialogue with the ArtsUKNA Macau Winter School Urban Heritage in Taipei

Asian Cities Updates

11 December 2017

A two-day symposium on the relationship between rivers and cities.


When heat became hard to beat with fresh drink and fan
To cool myself, hastily to Shillong I ran
Where pine-decked hills and deep dark forest
Afford tired souls their much needed rest.


The rapid urbanization of India’s Northeast frontier1The federal states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura. is one of the most...


A four-year regional research programme (2017-2020)


The competition between Asian cities to become the leading global city in the region reshapes the urban fabric in Hong Kong too. Amidst the urban redevelopment and art market hype, artists and urbanites initiate varied forms of urban creativity for local needs. The new agencies and strategies of...


In June 2016, warm ties between the Chinese state and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) were once again reaffirmed. Reportedly, Cambodia demanded ASEAN to tone down its statement on China’s disputed claim over the South China Sea, after which China pledged US$600...


Gentrification involves the conversion of dilapidated residences and areas into refurbished units and locales through an influx of residents with a higher earning power. In some cases, gentrified spaces facilitate the local tourism needs and generate income for local proprietors and businesses....