Sustainable cities in Asia: preface

Joss, S. and Cowley, R. (2017) Sustainable cities in Asia: preface. In: Caprotti, F. and Yu, L. (eds.) Sustainable Cities in Asia. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY, xviii-xix. ISBN 9781138182110 (doi: 10.4324/9781315643069)

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It used to be that those interested in sustainable urbanism could be seen flocking to, say, Freiburg in Germany or Malmö in Sweden to learn about the principles of sustainable urban development applied in practice. Nowadays, just as often visitors may be seen venturing out to Tianjin in China, Kawasaki in Japan, or Songdo in South Korea, reflecting the growing focus on sustainable cities in Asia. There are several well stated reasons for this shifting interest (see eg Joss et al., 2013): from the rising influence of Asia in global politics, to the rapid rate of urbanisation across the region; and from new models of ecological modernisation and smart urbanism with Asian inflections, to the iconic status of gleaming new cities built for a global as much as a local clientele. But just as the European sustainable city has eluded easy categorisation, so it proves difficult–and is arguably even questionable–to try to extrapolate and advance a particular Asian model. Indeed, as this volume comprehensively demonstrates, if anything sustainable urbanism in the Asian context is essentially characterised by rich diversity, and some evident contradictory tendencies too. This should, of course, not come as any big surprise, given the inherent variety in geographies, economies, political systems and cultural traditions across this expansive global region. And if one of the lessons of past globalism is to be alert to the risk of superimposing western-centric development models on the Global South, so it is equally prudent not to force artificially uniform thinking about sustainable urbanism in Asia.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Joss, Professor Simon
Authors: Joss, S., and Cowley, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Research Group:Urban Studies
Journal Name:Sustainable Cities in Asia

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