Urban Southeast Asia

Kuala Lumpur

Luxury and Rubble: Civility and Dispossession in the New Saigon
Erik Harms

Luxury and Rubble is the tale of two cities in Ho Chi Minh City. It is the story of two planned, mixed-use residential and commercial developments that are changing the face of Vietnam’s largest city. Since the early 1990s, such developments have been steadily reorganizing urban landscapes across the country. For many Vietnamese, they are a symbol of the country’s emergence into global modernity and of post-socialist economic reforms. However, they are also sites of great contestation, sparking land disputes and controversies over how to compensate evicted residents. In this penetrating ethnography, Erik Harms vividly portrays the human costs of urban reorganization as he explores the complex and sometimes contradictory experiences of individuals grappling with the forces of privatization in a socialist country.
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The Other Kuala Lumpur: Living in the Shadows of a Globalising Southeast Asian City
Yeoh Seng Guan (Editor)

Kuala Lumpur, like many Southeast Asian cities, has changed very significantly in the last two or three decades – expanding its size, and ‘modernising’ and ‘globalising’ its built environment. For many people these changes represent ‘progress’ and ‘development’. This book, however, focuses on the more marginalised residents of Kuala Lumpur. Among others, it considers street hawkers and vendors, refugees, the urban poor, religious minorities and a sexuality rights group, and explores how their everyday lives have been adversely affected by these recent changes. The book shows how urban renewal, the law and ethno-religious nationalism can work against these groups in wanting to live and work in the capital city of Malaysia.
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Urbanization in Southeast Asia: Issues and Impacts
Yap Kioe Sheng and Moe Thuzar (Editors)

Urbanization occurs in tandem with development. Countries in Southeast Asia need to build — individually and collectively — the capacity of their cities and towns to promote economic growth and development, to make urban development more sustainable, to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to ensure that all groups in society share in the development. This book is a result of a series of regional discussions by experts and practitioners involved in the urban development and planning of their countries. It highlights urbanization issues that have implications for regional — including ASEAN — cooperation, and provides practical recommendations for policymakers. It is a first step towards assisting governments in the region to take advantage of existing collaborative partnerships to address the urban transformation that Southeast Asia is experiencing today.

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After the New Order: Space, Politics, and Jakarta
Abidin Kusno

After the New Order follows up Abidin Kusno’s well-received Behind the Postcolonial and The Appearances of Memory. This new work explores the formation of populist urban programs in post-Suharto Jakarta and the cultural and political contradictions that have arisen as a result of the continuing influence of the Suharto-era’s neoliberal ideology of development. Analyzing a spectrum of urban agendas from waterfront city to green environment and housing for the poor, Kusno deepens our understanding of the spatial mediation of power, the interaction between elite and populist urban imaginings, and how past ideologies are integral to the present even as they are newly reconfigured.

The book brings together eight chapters that examine the anxiety over the destiny of Jakarta in its efforts to resolve the crisis of the city. In the first group of chapters Kusno considers the fate and fortune of two building types, namely the city hall and the shop house, over a longue duree as a metonymy for the culture, politics, and society of the city and the nation. Other chapters focus on the intellectual legacies of the Sukarno and Suharto eras and the influence of their spatial paradigms. The final three chapters look at social and ecological consciousness in the post-Suharto era. One reflects on citizens’ responses to the waterfront city project, another on the efforts to “green” the city as it is overrun by capitalism and reaching its ecological limits. The third discusses a recent low-income housing program by exploring the two central issues of land and financing; it illuminates the interaction between the politics of urban space and that of global financial capitalism. The epilogue, consisting of an interview with the author, discusses Kusno’s writings on contemporary Jakarta, his approach to history, and how his work is shaped by concerns over the injustices, violence, and environmental degradation that continue to accompany the city’s democratic transition.

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