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.

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.


Reviewed title: Lim, William (ed.) 2014. Public Space in Urban Asia, London: World Scientific Publishing, ISBN 9789814578325


The strong urban dynamics that have been occurring in Vietnam over the past decades have led to a reshuffling of social practices, especially in the field of social exchanges and ritual activities. This paper gives a glimpse at evolving urban sociability through the lens of gift-giving practices...


Beyond the visible development of its built environment, it is enlightening to read the current socio-spatial evolutions of a place through the lens of domestic and cultural urban practices. For example, the way in which different categories of urban dwellers organise their ancestor worship is a...


After decades of war and destruction, followed by the reunification of the country in 1976, the new Socialist Republic of Vietnam gave right of way to social and economic reconstruction and development. Architectural and urban heritage preservation did not appear as a priority de facto...


Vietnamese cities are key in the regional positioning of their country’s tourism sector. The authorities have encouraged this role, aiming for a stronger urban hierarchy. From the local to the international level, tourism participates in the material and symbolic production of Vietnamese cities...


In HCMC’s metropolitan area, suburban areas are home to a significant concentration of population and industrial estates. Essentially funded by foreign companies, HCMC’s industrial parks are hubs for export activities and flows of internal migrant workers.1...