Rethinking Southeast Asian Mega-Cities


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Session 11
Fri 13:30–15:00 Room 1.101


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With rapid economic growth, many mega cities in Asia have become global hubs of finance, production and consumption. They also serve as leading centers of economic growth in the world and show interconnected dynamics with strong economic and social networks among these cities. These cities are experiencing ‘compressed development’ of economy and society resulting in multi-layered stratification. Under such circumstances, the mega-cities of Southeast Asia face complex challenges and rapid change that municipalities, national governments, civil society and urbanites have to deal with.

The 21st century has been termed the “Asian urban century” with half of the urban world population living in Asia (UN-Habitat 2012: 28). Roy (2014: 14) comprehends the Asian urban century as the “historical conjuncture”, at which the urban becomes a matter of government. Urbanism then is “produced through the practice of statecraft and the apparatus of planning” (Roy 2014: 14).

Against this backdrop we would like to rethink Southeast Asian mega-cities from a geographical comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. The urbanization of Southeast Asia was led by dynamics of interconnected cross-border investment and economic activities, sociopolitical and cultural changes. We look for idiosyncrasies and commonalities across cities. We invite papers comprising empirical case studies and theoretical reflections on Southeast Asian mega-cities from the social sciences, such as economics, political science, sociology, and area studies.