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

PRCUD Palembang forum

Asian Cities Updates

UKNA - Urban Asia presentation series
23 May 2017

In this presentation, Professor Pralay Kanungo will focus on two slums in the city of Bhubaneswar, once an ancient temple city, today India's top most 'smart city': one tiny, the other a mega slum complex, consisting of a cluster of slums being encircled by rich and posh localities. After discussing the slum's history, planning, economy and politics, Kanungo will highlight how the slum dwellers have successfully resisted state’s agenda to make the city ‘slum free’.

10 May 2017

The ninth annual IIAS-TU Delft Seminar will take place in Leiden on 10-11 May 2017.

Call for papers
1 May 2017

We invite the submission of paper abstracts for a two-day symposium on the relationship between rivers and cities. We look forward to receiving proposals from both scholars and practitioners before 1 May 2017.

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.


Over the last decade in South Korea, contemporary art has been undergoing an important transformation toward more participatory, collaborative and collective practices. By taking the case of the Dongdaemun Rooftop Paradise, a community engaged art project that has occupied the rooftop...


Waste has made a presence in contemporary Chinese art since the beginning of the 21st century, either incorporated into installation artworks, as the content of photographs or paintings, or featured in documentary films. This artistic trend simultaneously reflects and warns of the rapid...


Socially engaged art practices, such as those found at the Plum Tree Creek project in Taiwan, allow artists, architects and the local community to collaborate in order to revive everyday-life customs, perceptions and representations that are attentive to the environment, whether natural...


“Would this be the time for a permanent social change?” and “Could alternative artistic and creative practices facilitate the transformation?”, are two questions posed by the spray painted image of a masked protestor pitching a translated copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point in...


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...