Development and Urbanization
At a global scale, traditional concepts of borders seem to become less rigid or even vanishing, resulting in a sense of the world getting ‘smaller’. At the same time, due to the rapid increase in information technology systems in the past decades, the world has simultaneously been expanding in size of information and knowledge, providing us with many more opportunities and chances – in our personal lives, but also in the case of the city. Planning concepts, urban design approaches, and architecture have joined the international trade goods on a mass scale, being traded globally according to global and local market demands. In a sense, this is not a new phenomenon. Urban form generated in faraway places has changed our cities on regional, metropolitan, and local scales for many centuries. Historically, monks, traders, politicians, surveyors and many more all have taken ideas about urban form, function, policy, and technology with them as they moved between cities, countries, and continents (see i.e. Hein 2014, 2016). Usually, the exchange happens from the technologically and economically more developed to the less developed regions and countries (from the so-called “North” to the “South”). However, we are currently witnessing a large shift in the way in which urban concepts are travelling between cities all over the world. Not only in size, as there are increasingly more urban concepts that are being exchanged between cities on a rapid scale, but also in terms of the direction of the exchange. Instead of ‘North to South’ exchanges, we increasingly see exchanges in all directions, and new main players on the market of urban concepts have established itself in the East, acting as main distributors within Asia.
In this panel, we will discuss how the travelling of ideas and concepts that involve the city is developing within Asia, looking at how urban concepts that might have originated in Europe or other continents are being re-interpreted in Asian settings – and then travel further. We will take a look at how urban concepts that deal with pressing global issues such as sustainability and health are being re-interpreted, traded, and adapted to contexts. Although all participants have different disciplinary backgrounds, each of these case studies presents an interesting perspective on the field of transcultural and cross-cultural urbanism.