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
Asian Cities close

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

11 December 2014

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

Call for proposals
30 October 2014

ICAS 9 Adelaide, South Australia, will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 5-9 July 2015.

Call for applications
1 October 2014

The International Institute for Asian Studies offers an annual award for the best master’s thesis in the broad field of Asian studies, written at a Dutch University.

27 August 2014

This is a workshop in the framework of the three-year pilot-programme "Rethinking Asian Studies in a Global Context".
The objective of the workshop is to identify and develop new forms of knowledge related to urban planning in cities with an increasingly large role for large-scale private capital and top-down (public and private-led) planning.

5 June 2014

Coorganized by the Technical University Delft and International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden

9 May 2014

Sixth annual IIAS-TU Delft seminar, convened by Dr Gregory Bracken


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...


Reviewed publication:
McKinnon, M. 2011. Asian Cities: Globalization, Urbanization and Nation-Building, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 288 pages, ISBN 9788776940799 (pb)

The worlds of Santosh, or Mohammed or the women of Yangzhou cannot be explained by globalization yet that does...


My research in 2013 brought me to various cities in Malaysia and Indonesia. It gave me the opportunity to visit a multitude of interesting venues, ranging from sacred places (Chinese-style mosques), to eating places (Chinese halal restaurants), retail places (shopping malls and Islamic boutiques...