Transnational urban modelling in the city making in Southeast Asia


Single Panel


Session 5
Thu 11:00-12:30 Room 3.01


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Since the last decades of the 20th century, globalization has yielded major changes in urbanization patterns and processes across Southeast Asia, especially through the circulation of urban policies and models. This panel underscores the need to decipher the role of transnational urban modelling, by public or private overseas investment firms, consultancies, and designers. The important roles of specific ‘modern’ discourses and ‘innovative’ models such as smart, green and sustainable cities, also need to be investigated. These shifts in the Southeast Asian city-making paradigm also rely on specific initiatives promoted by real estate developers and international urban planning professionals; the degree to which these have become determinant actors of the urban growth machine needs to be better understood. This panel thus seeks to analyse the evolution of practices by local actors (public authorities, urban planners, entrepreneurs), the degree to which these are influenced by foreign planning approaches, and residents’ reflections of these. Through knowledge exchange, collaborations, and ‘inter-referencing’ these actors have been appropriating and reformulating transnational urban policies and models to create development models adapted to local specificities and objectives. Our case studies focus on a range of these urban production dynamics in Southeast Asia: (1) urban planners’ perceptions of foreign influences in urban planning of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam; (2) the transformation of Sihanoukville, a mid-sized, coastal city in Cambodia, following the arrival of significant Chinese investment; (3) the perceptions of Hanoi’s urban residents regarding a new urban railway constructed by overseas developers and strongly supported by the Vietnamese state; (4) the role of transnational urban modelling in the making of metropolises in Ho Chi Minh City Metropolitan Area southern Vietnam, focusing on new urban-industrial forms and new town concepts, and the degree to which the discourses of urban real estate developers and the municipal government regarding the benefits of these have been accepted or not. Together these empirical cases will provide important insights into the discourses, practices, and local responses regarding urban modelling in Southeast Asia.