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

7 May 2015

7th annual IIAS-TU Delft seminar.

11 December 2014

International conference organized by Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica (Taiwan), Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore), and IIAS.

10 December 2014

Workshop in the framework of the three-year pilot-programme "Rethinking Asian Studies in a Global Context". The objective of the workshop is to explore specifically themes related to the urban “underclass.

IIAS Lunch Lecture
4 December 2014

Lunch lecture by UKNA fellow Dr Gao Hui.

25 November 2014

Seminar by Professor Mike Douglass, organised by the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA)

IIAS Lunch Lecture
20 November 2014

In this lunch lecture Dr Gregory Bracken will present some of the themes and concerns of his forthcoming publication Asian Cities: Colonial to Global (Amsterdam University Press)


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...


Mobility has become a buzzword of our times. There is an increased sense that we are no longer constrained to live in one place throughout our lives, or even in one place at a time. Indeed, there is now a growing body of literature that advocates the concept of transnational mobility to make...


The Hong Kong-China border is slowly dissolving. In 2010 a part of the frontier area at Lok Ma Chau opened up for new urban developments. By 2047, 50 years after the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, the border will no longer exist. This project proposes an inhabited bridge at Lok Ma Chau,...


Report of the IIAS Winter School in Macau (16-20 December 2013)

THIS PAST DECEMBER, the IIAS’ Winter School on Urban Hybridity in the Post-Colonial Age brought together distinguished professors, trained experts, and selected graduate students from four continents and several disciplines...