Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cities' Systems & Geopolitics : suggested readings

(The website didn't allow me to post this under the comments thread of Sernhong's post so I'm putting it here as a separate post. So here it is)

To Sernhong and all out there who are interested:

I'm not sure if you're interested in pursuing further relevant reading. There are already a series of academic writings out there that exist on the same themes you mentioned in your blog post, but rooted in Singapore, SEA and East Asia. (some of them written by NUS academics, no less!)

1. Theorizing the Southeast Asian City as text : Urban landscapes, cultural documents and interpretive experiences (edited by Brenda Yeoh and Robbie Goh)
2. Postcolonial Urbanism (edited by Ryan Bishop, Yeo Wei Wei, Robbie Goh. Has many articles focussing on Singapore. I especially like the one by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim.)
3. Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance (by Ackbar Abbas, who writes about HK imagination, not unlike how Walter Benjamin writes about Paris)
4. East Asia Modern: Shaping the Contemporary City (by Peter G. Rowe, former chair of architecture, Harvard GSD)

Also, the idea of multiple global/regional networks (e.g. trade network systems vs aristocratic central placement systems) influencing the patterns of urban development is not new, and has been in effect as early as the Baroque age or even earlier. For this history in a European context, read

5. The Making of Urban Europe : 1000-1994 (by Paul Hohenberg & Lynn Lees)

On the radical effects of globalisation on instituting networks of culture (e.g. mediascapes, ideoscapes, financescapes, ethnoscapes, etc), read

6. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (by Arjun Appadurai, globalisation theorist)

You might also want to follow the ideas and readings of scholar Manuel DeLanda, who specialises in the theory of self-organisation in cities.

William Lim also writes extensively on his New Asian Urbanism (i.e. the same issues rooted in an Asian context), theorising on the collective unconscious that influence the development/energy of cities like Bangkok, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Hope that wasn't too overwhelming.