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Globalizing the Urban Transition in Southeast Asia: Edge Cities as Private Utopia Unbound by Local Governance

Globalizing the Urban Transition in Southeast Asia: Edge Cities as Private Utopia Unbound by Local Governance

Colloquium with Prof. Mike Douglass, Globalization Research Center and Department of Urban & Regional Planning, University of Hawaii

Monday, October 15, 2007
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall (10th floor)
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Illustration: Proposal for "Thu Thiem New Urban Development Area" in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The accelerated urban transition now taking place in Southeast Asia focuses on a handful of mega-urban regions that are each absorbing hundreds of thousands of people into their expanding urban sphere every year.  The certainty of the continued rapid expansion of these cities into rural hinterlands magnifies a global process that is also happening throughout the world:  the creation of gigantic new towns in peri-urban areas that are packaged as private, self-contained utopia for a new urban society. Having no mechanism for resident participation in governance, and no provision of housing for lower classes or public space, the new edge cities of Southeast Asia are part of larger emergent “secessionary networked spaces” of new towns, shopping malls, global business districts and hub transportation nodes that are engaged in the “desocialization of space” – the production of space for elites without consideration or inclusion of the vast majority of population and devoid of a public sphere of decisionmaking over the new cityscapes. 

Among the most ambitious of the edge cities in Southeast Asia is Saigon South (Phu My Hung), a mega-project covering 3,300 hectares of land and slated to be the home for as many as one million people.  Comparing daily life in Saigon South with city life in Saigon reveals a number of striking differences, a major one being the absence of the “conviviality” of community and civic life in this new edge city.

Mike Douglass is Director of the Globalization Research Center and Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawai’i.   He received his Ph.D. in Urban Planning at UCLA.  His research focuses on East and Southeast Asia and currently includes: livable cities; civic space; global migration and the globalization of the household; the urban transition in Asia.  His books are: Globalization, the Rise of Civil Society and Civic Spaces in Pacific Asia Cities (Routledge, 2007).  The Rise of Mega-Urban Regions in Pacific (Singapore University Press, 2007); Japan and Global Migration (UH Press 2003); Cities for Citizens [with John Friedmann] (John Wiley, 1998); Culture and the City in East Asia (Oxford University Press, 1997).  His awards include: Finalist, Graduate Teacher of the Year, University of Hawaii (2006); Faculty Excellence in Research Award, UH (2002); Visiting Scholar and Professor, Stanford University (2000); Fulbright Senior Specialist (current).  The University of Hawaii identifies him as one of its “fabulous faculty.”

Parking at UCLA costs $8.


Cost : Free and open to the public.

BarbaraGaerlan
310-206-9163
www.international.ucla.edu/cseas/
cseas@international.ucla.edu

Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Urban Planning