Beyond Metropolis: The Planning and Governance of Asia's Mega-Urban Regions

By Ooi, Giok-Ling | Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, August 2006 | Go to article overview

Beyond Metropolis: The Planning and Governance of Asia's Mega-Urban Regions


Ooi, Giok-Ling, Journal of Southeast Asian Economies


DOI: 10.1355/ae23-2h Beyond Metropolis: The Planning and Governance of Asia's Mega-Urban Regions. By Aprodicio A. Laquian. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. Pp. 488.

The book begins with a rather controversial title - Beyond Metropolis. In a world where the majority of cities in developing countries are struggling with metropolitan growth and change, the title might appear to be rather mocking to the governments that have been shown up more often than not for their inaptitude at metropolitan governance and change. It is a world, as the author has rightly pointed, where the mega-cities in Asia dominate the world's urban population growth statistics and, hence, urban development issues. Yet, the fastest growing urban areas are not the mega-cities but cities with populations of 1.5 million to 5 million. These are growing at triple the rates in mega-cities. In terms of sheer numbers, however, population growth in the mega-cities would be breathtaking compared with the population growth in the smaller cities. The author speaks of Shanghai as the "head of the dragon" in the Yangtze River delta and the dominant core of a metropolitan region covering about 100,000 square kilometres with a population of 72.7 million (p. 30).

What the author, however, has focused on in his discussion, has been the spatial growth of mega-cities to encompass regions or mega-urban regions. Intriguingly, much of the growth of these mega-urban regions is being attributed to planning aimed ironically at containing metropolitan growth or what many North American cities would be familiar with - urban sprawl. Debates are ongoing concerning the measurement and impact of urban sprawl. There are similar debates, which the author has highlighted, concerning the growth of metropolises and whether mega-urban regions are necessarily the best things that can happen in Asian urbanization, at least. While one school of thought has argued for smaller cities and cities apparently of "lower levels", the author notes that in Asian countries there has been a high degree of policy measures and intervention aimed at planning for and "regulating" the course of the urbanization process and city growth. The measures aimed at controlling the rate and nature of urbanization range from China's hukou or registration system to planning medium-sized cities as well as industrial estates or satellite towns to divert the stream of population migration from rural areas or small towns headed towards the mega-cities.

The concerns of the book are, first, the role played by planning and governance in the development of mega-urban regions in Asia and, second, the position that if the role of mega-urban regions in national economic and social development is important, then improved planning and governance, so the author argues, can enhance this role in Asian economies. Asia's long history of planning for cities is reviewed beginning with that of the ancient cities like Beijing and Tokyo to those that have been the handiwork of colonial plans - Dhaka, Karachi, Kolkata, Metro Manila, and Mumbai. The origins of planning are traced variously to Utopian ideals like the "garden city" framework which Singapore, Bangalore, and Baguio employed, as well as the more ideological positioning of city plans in China. While the garden city framework sought the balance between a natural and built environment, the political ideologies of Marxism have stressed plans or state-centric agendas for industrialization, social housing and monumental architecture. The author then rightly points out that urban planning in more recent times, has had to be more "comprehensive, encompassing not only the highly urbanized areas of city-regions but also adjoining rural areas and open spaces (Bangkok, Jakarta, Tokyo). As a whole, the most common urban plans in Asia have been formulated to deal with specific problems, such as the proliferation of slums and squatter areas (Dhaka, Karachi, Kolkata, Mumbai), traffic congestion (Bangkok, Metro Manila), environmental pollution (Mumbai, Seoul, Tokyo), serious health and safety problems (Dhaka, Kolkata), and uncontrolled urban sprawl (Bangkok, Jakarta, Metro Manila, Seoul)" (p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Beyond Metropolis: The Planning and Governance of Asia's Mega-Urban Regions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.