Chapter 10 – Cities of Southeast Asia
Summarized main point:
-urban landscapes of southeast asia have been shaped by chinese, indian, malay and
international influences, especially colonialism and more recently globalization
-all of the worlds major cities religions are represented in the landscapes of
southeast Asias cities
-all of the major cities in this region have experienced rapid population growth ince
-primate cities like Jakarta, Manila, and Bangkok dominate the regions but the key
urban center of southest asia is the city-state of Singapore
-foreign influcnes, especially through foreign direct investment play a big role today
-land reclamation is increasingly used in port areas to provide space for urban
-land use partner in the cities are very similar throughout the region
-many cities are restructuring their economies to become IT (info tech) cities
-some of the worlds largest cargo ports notably Singapore are located in this region
-transnational cities, which reach across international boundaries in their influence
are becoming more important
Urban patterns at the regional scale:
-south east Asian cities remain among the least urbanized regions of the world, and
are home to many markets and shanty towns.
-the only states more than 50% urban are Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and the
-urban population growth rates have increased to about 3% per year, while
Cambodia and laos are at about 6% a year
-New to the 21 century in these cities is densely populated cities which are
sprawling outwards, previously they were densely population, but were stagnant in
-most of this growth is occurring in periphery such as Manila, Bangkok, phnom penh
-this growth which is partly planned and partly arbitrary is causing problems: land
use, threatiening once prime agricultural lands southeast Asian culture
Forms of urban center in southeast Asian cities:
-Sacred City and Market City – both perform religious and economic function but
- sacred cities: more populous, wealth was gained from appropriating agriculture
surpluses and labor from the rural hinterlands.
-sacred cities were sprawling in administrative, military and cultural centers
-sacred cities were planned and developed to mirror symbolic links between human
societies and forces of heaven,
-stone of brick temples were the make of most city centers
-usually occupied more inland locations (like Angkor) -market cities: supported through long distance maritime trade, through these
cities were the riches of asia including pearls, silks, tin, porcelain and spcies
-most centers of economic activity (like Malacca and Oc Eo)
-they occupied mostly coastal loctions and thus had more limited hinterlands.
-they are more compact in layout much activity was focused in the port area
-market cities more ethnically diverse than sacred cities
-populated by traders, merchants and travelers from around the earth
Urbanization in colonial southeast Asia:
-nutmeg cloves and cinnamon and sandlewood : these are the [prized commodities
that drove the worlds economy fro hundreds of years. They all came from European
colonies in southeast asia, and drove the foundations of their economics.
-european colonialism, asia was decently urbanized, with 6 trade-dependent cities
that had populations of more than 100,000 people (Malacca, thang-long (Vietnam),
ayyuthaya which is siam), sumatra, mataram which is now java. the other half dozen
cities had about 50,000 people
-phillipines was not urbanized because of its periphery location lacked urban
Primate cities functions:
-political, commercial, financial, even religious activities were concentrated in these
urban areas. They also became very large in size.
-very diverse popoulations, and because of this these primate cities served as
magnets from internal and international migration
-encouraged contract labor
-resource deposits such as minning city of Ipoh in Malaysia or regional
administrative centers in sumutra Georgetown
-acted as upland resourt centers to escape the heat and humidity of lowlands
European colonialism on transportation
-developed urban systems throughout southeast asia
-british built railways along malay peninsula from mining areas to the coast where
they would b exported.
Reasons for recent growth is SE Asia:
-urban areas increase in population bc of excess births over deaths
-net redistribution of people from rural to urban areas through migration
-immigration from international countries results in growth
Economic shift and migration:
-internal migration isn’t always permanent, circulation is compatible with changing
workplace in the informal sector
-migrant laboroers creates seasonality of workers and labor demands -circular migrqtion with better transportation is just much easier to do, so people
simply don’t stay in one place
Globalization, urbanization and the middle class:
-globalization of eco activity has propelled world economy
-transational operation of multinational firms has given rise to new internation
division of labor, which shows shift of manufacturing sector from developed to
developing countries with the emerge of corporate headquarters and producer
services and research sites
structure of the economy:
-decline in agriculture matched with increase of workers employed in
manufacturing and service sector.
-consequently, increasing portion of clerical sales, and service workers translated
into redefined social categories.
- this led to the emerge of the middle class
rise of middle class:
-altered landscape of south east asia
-middle class families are smaller, economically they have higher levels of
consumption and spend money on non essential items such as luxury cars
-these middle class families mirror westernized fantasies and connection to amterial
items in their new social status
-in terms of housing, middle class wants more space and privacy
-ability to purchase automobile allows them to work longer distances away from
home, thus creating sprawl of cities into traditional hinterlands ; while some want to
live closer to business distract downtown in condos
-biggest influence of middle class is spending power and sprawl of cities
because of ability to drive
-new estates often sit side by side with poor urban areas who migrate towards city
in search for jobs after being displaced by land scarcity and mechanization of
agriculture, taking away the need for unskilled labor.
-poor make their own housing out of tin and plywood
-urban landscapes reflect the social and economic transformations of a region
zones of land
-only zones that are constant throughout urban development are port zone, and
periphery where the they call it market gardening which is crop production.
-in between is mixed economic activity and land use where urban sprawl takes place
-extended metropolitan regions through core-periphery relations
Distinctive East Asian Cities
-modernity, orderliness and Disneyland land cleanliness are all unique
characteristics -it is a city as well as a sovereign state and it is quite small.
-second to japan in per capita income
-economic success tied to its geography: strategic location and natural harbor.
-government policies, and dynamic leadership propel it into southeast asias leading
port and industrial nexus as well as leading banking and commercial center
-tokyo, hong kong and Singapore are leading 3 urban centers in asia global
-strong manufacturing sector (initially raw materials, not electronics and electrical
products), oil refining, tourism and financial and business services.
-translates into good quality of life, which means great medical care and compulsory
-cosmopolitan world city, shopping and tourist corridor.
-landscpae reflects ethnic heritage.
-chinatown area, with mosques and temples
-urban preservation is obviously important
Jakarta: Indonesia mega city
-sprawling metropolis on north coast of java
-two and half times the size of Singapore
-some port in town called sunda kelapa
-huge growth in past five decades
-2 million to 13 million people
-urban growth sprawled into the hinterland
-jabotabek region, houses a large portion of urban population
-indonesia national capital
-administrative and commercial capital of archipelago
-international and domestic trade hub
-share of forein investment
-manufacturing is where investment is, thus main part of economy
-deindustrialization though because of rise of middle class with corresponding
impact on urban landscape.
-increase in tertiary and quaternary sectors (financial, communication,
-land use from residential to high intensity commercial and offices as well as luxury
high rise apartments. -80,000 new housing units each year to jabotabek.
-large industrial estate ad leisure related land uses
problems in Jakarta:
-lacks adequate public housing, traffic congestion, air and water pollution, sewage
disposal, lacks provision of health services and education.
-because of the size, political eco social instability is very high and dangerous. Manila: city of the phillipines
-famous for traffic congestion
-highest primacy rate in phillipines by 9x
-composed of many diff political units
-increasing number of consumer spaces like shopping malls and stores