ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Are Asian Cities Shaped by Global Forces?

Asian Cities: Globalisation, Urbanisation and Nation-Building by Malcolm McKinnon (Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies), 2011; pp 258, $90.

In his book Asian Cities: Globali­s­ation, Urbanisation and Nation-Building, Malcolm McKinnon develops an argu­ment which seems to go against common knowledge: unlike western cities, Asian cities are not shaped by globali­sation but by urbanisation and nation-building. He devotes the main parts of his research to these two factors, explai­ning how global forces play only a secondary role in the current development of Asian cities, and how rural-urban migra­tion and the expansion of national markets could take place in the absence of globalisation, how domestic factors play a predominant role all over Asia.

His study focuses on the three most populous Asian countries, China, India and Indonesia, which together have an estimated population of 2,855 billion people in 2012, i e, 67% of the Asian population and 40% of the world population. In these countries, the qualitative and quantitative investigation covers parti­cular cities: Shanghai and Yangzhou in China, Bangalore and Mysore in ­India, Jakarta and Semarang in Indonesia. The pertinence of this choice cannot be questioned. The pairing of large agglomerations with lesser cities, located in the same sub-national region, makes a lot of sense to get a representative sample of urban Asia.

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