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.

Postcolonial Global City UKNA Macau Winter School Urban Heritage in Taipei

PRCUD Palembang forum

Asian Cities Updates

20 October 2015

Third and final workshop in the context of the “Rethinking Asian Studies” program (Forum 4)

UKNA Seminar
28 May 2015

Jointly hosted by the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft and IIAS

IIAS Lunch Lecture
12 May 2015

Lecture by Dr Nikolay Kradin

7 May 2015

7th annual IIAS-TU Delft seminar, convened by Dr Ir Gregory Bracken

UKNA Seminar
24 April 2015

Seminar by UKNA Scholars from the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design in Beijing.

IIAS Lunch Lecture
23 April 2015

Lecture by Mariske Westendorp (Macquarie University, Sydney).


Report of training course given in Yangon, 3-14 November 2014.

FROM 3-14 NOVEMBER 2014, a team with members from IIAS, the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (Delft, the Netherlands), and the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), jointly organized a tailor-made training course...


On 10-11 December 2014, the Studio-X space of the Columbia University Global Center in the Fort area of Mumbai was the setting for a workshop entitled Urban Democracy: Informality, Precarity and Modes of Survival. This was the second in a series of discussions in the Idea of the City in Asian...


Reviewed publication: Labbé, D. 2014. Land Politics and Livelihoods on the Margins of Hanoi, 1920-2010, Vancouver: UBC Press, ISBN: 9780774826679

Hòa Muc, in the past a small village (203 inhabitants in 1923) in the urban periphery of the Vietnamese capital city...


On 27 and 28 August 2014, Paul Rabé, Coordinator of the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) at IIAS, and Anupama Rao, Associate Professor of History at Barnard College/Columbia University, convened a workshop entitled Public City, Private City at the Institute for Public Knowledge, New York...


Nalanda is believed to have been the world’s oldest residential monastic university, and a continually active Buddhist centre of learning from the 5th to the 12th centuries AD. This report describes how modern satellite technology can augment traditional archaeological efforts to shed light on...


SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Beijing has undergone several infrastructural and architectural makeovers that have altered the morphology of the city’s historical core. During the past two decades this process accelerated and the Old City, the terrain within...