Special Topic: Asian Cities: Growth and Transition


This course surveys the intersection of Asia and urbanization through the lens of development, broadly defined. Asia is frequently embraced as a developmental success story by governments, economic organizations, and cultural commentators alike. This notion is regularly reiterated by groups within and outside Asia, with material evidence pointed to the staggering growth of the Asian city as political, economic, and cultural juggernaut.

This course reflects critically on these presumptions, concentrating in the first half of the course on the fundamental unevenness of development and taking note of how development is definitionally heterogeneous and is a catch-all for a range of initiatives.

The overall goal in the first half of the course is for students to attain a critical vocabulary surrounding development and how it is injected with "urban" characteristics in Asia. The second half of the course takes an issues-based approach to analysing urban development in Asia. These are treated as weekly thematic case studies and enrich the concepts through problems facing Asian cities today: pollution, housing, labour, gender, mobility, and education.

Through these case studies students will be able to apply urban development ideas to real-world issues and be able to dig more deeply in to the Asian success story by generating questions and providing solutions to gaps in our knowledge. The geographical breadth of the module covers East, Southeast, and South Asia.

Availability 2021

Summer School


Lecturer(s) Dr Jamie Gillen


GLOBAL 352: 15.0 points


30 points passed at Stage II



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