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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Searching for an Asian alternative to the colonial city

Melbourne University Melbourne, Jan 9 (360info) Cities in South and Southeast Asia share many characteristics and can learn from each other’s history, development trajectories and experiences.

There is an irony in many Asian nations that after the colonisers were kicked out the ruling elites inherited, sustained and continued to impose colonial governance and practices upon their nascent nation-states. This extended to the modernisation and economic development of their countries and cities; to become ‘high-income’ and ‘developed’. This is unsurprising as the elite mind was/is concurrently colonised and self-colonised.

Take ‘self-colonisation’. In the 19th-20th centuries the rulers of Siam (Thailand) and Persia (Iran) tried to avoid direct European colonisation. But their capitals, Bangkok and Tehran, developed with European urban planning practices anyway. Many European…

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