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Future Challenges of Cities in Asia

Gregory Bracken,
Paul Rabé,
Neha Sami,
R. Parthsarathy, and
Bing Zhang

978 94 6372 881 2
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Publication date:
1 October 2019

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Since 1978 China's urbanization has risen from 18 to 45 per cent, over 350 million farmers have moved to cities or transformed their villages into towns, and the number of cities rose from under 200 to more than 650. These numbers are unprecedented in the course of human history and underscore the need for our attempt to understand what is going on in China as it rapidly urbanizes. This book examines China's urban environment to try and understand what is going on, and suggests improvements for planning the future while simultaneously preserving the past. The research in this book was conducted as part of the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA), an international research staff exchange scheme funded by the European Union's Marie Curie Actions and a continuation of the series of UKNA publications that includes Ideas of the City in Asian Settings, Cities in Asia by and for the People, and Future Challenges of Cities in Asia.


Gregory Bracken is an Assistant Professor of Spatial Planning and Strategy at TU Delft and one of the co-founders of Footprint, the e-journal dedicated to architecture theory. From 2009-2015 he was a research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) Leiden where he set up (with Dr. Manon Ossewijer) the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) with a grant from Marie Curie Actions. His publications include Asian Cities: Colonial to Global (Amsterdam University Press, 2015), and The Shanghai Alleyway House: A Vanishing Urban Vernacular (Routledge 2013, translated into Chinese in 2015).

Paul Rabé is academic coordinator of the cities cluster at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden, the Netherlands, which includes two networks of urban scholars: the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) and the Southeast Asia Neighborhoods Network (SEANNET). In addition, Paul is Senior Land Expert at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam, where he heads the Urban Land Governance team. He is a political scientist by training, with a doctoral degree in policy, planning and development from the University of Southern California's Sol Price School of Public Policy. Paul's motivation is to bridge the divide between academia and practice when it comes to our approaches to cities. His engagement is in both worlds: he has over 20 years of experience in advisory work and capacity building as well as research and teaching on urban policy topics. His research and professional interests focus on urban land governance and access to land for social, economic and environmental uses. His current focus is on the intersection of land policy and the management of water resources in urban and peri-urban areas.

Dr. R. Parthasarathy is a MEGA Chair Professor and Director, Gujarat Institute of Development Research. He has both teaching and research interests. Until recently, he was teaching at CEPT University to Postgraduate and Graduate students, besides guiding Masters and PhD dissertations. In his research, he explores relations between resources management and social distributions of power, leadership, economic development and the impacts of policy and development organizations on these relations. In all these, the special focus has been on large scale infrastructures in rural and urban areas. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, USA and at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He has co-authored and co-edited books and has published extensively.

Neha Sami studies urban and regional development and governance in post-liberalization India. Her research focuses on the governance arrangements of mega-projects, regional planning, and on environmental governance questions in Indian cities, particularly around issues of climate change adaptation. Neha is currently faculty at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements in Bangalore, India where she teaches on questions of governance and sustainability as well as anchors the Research Programme. She also serves on the Editorial Collective of Urbanisation. She holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, a master's degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Mumbai.

Dr Bing Zhang is the Chief Planner of the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design and Adjunct Professor at Tongji and Tianjin Universities. He chairs the Academic Committee of Historic City Conservation, Urban Planning Society of China. He has a series of outstanding works in urban and regional planning, including a number of books and more than 70 papers on Theory and History, Heritage Conservation and Strategic Planning. In 2012-2016, as a Pilot Researcher, Bing Zhang has been involved in the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) and was a visiting scholar at the TU Delft in 2012, at the Development Planning Unit, UCL, in 2013, and at ENSAPB in Paris in 2015.



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