Call for papers: Ideas of the city in Asia

Call for papers for “Ideas of the city in Asia” for the annual one-day seminar “Asian Metropolises”, organised by IPRAUS and DSA “Architecture and Urban Projets”, which will take place at ENSA Paris-Belleville (60 Bd de la Villette, 75019 Paris) on 24 May 2014.

Contemporary urban phenomena in Asia can no longer be understood through the concepts long used to define what a city is, and to distinguish it from what it is not (for example, contrasting “urban” with “rural”). These concepts have become obsolete in the face of radical urban transformation, which marks the entry of these cities into the modern world, and which seems to call into question the very idea of “city” as a recognisable physical entity. The seminar day on “ideas of the city” in Asia will consider the evolution of meaning attached to these concepts and representations associated nowadays with Asian cities as spatial, political and social entities.

The seminar’s objective is to find the keys to understanding complex urban realities in Asia, and to offer suitable theoretical and methodological tools to study these realities. The speakers will attempt to show whether, and to what extent, urban planning reflects thoughts on the future, elaborated from the urban planners heterogeneous cultural horizons, and rooted in different ethical, political and philosophical schemes. Does the discussion around the concept of city, today disseminated at a global level by international organisations, influence professional thinking? How do the players involved in various urban capacities describe a city where “life is good” and imagine an “urban future”? What are the ideals pursued by the architects, urban planners and public players? Contributions may focus on the appearance of brands (such as the “creative city” or “smart city”), which express social aspirations, but which, at the same time, reinforce global competition between cities.

Speakers may also explore how urban planning creates a relationship with past heritage. In modern times, urban planning cannot ignore inherited patterns and legacies, even if this relationship is sometimes expressed in terms of denial. It is therefore appropriate to examine how urban plans contribute to breaking off from legacy, or, on the contrary, are revitalised by spatial and cultural heritage of cities. To what type of heritage do we attribute value in the making of the contemporary city, and why? Speakers may analyse the politics and heritage projects, but, more broadly, they will examine how urban planning is inspired or incorporates heritage, and what logic underlies this reference set.

The seminar welcomes contributions that analyse urban planning documentation and their relationship with their theoretical, discursive and ethical foundations from various disciplinary perspectives. The authors are especially encouraged to examine the reactivation of inherited urban models, some ancient, in contemporary city plans; contemporary usage of heritage, the manipulation of urban history by the selective erasure of certain legacies, and promotion of others; the role of heritage in urban strategy; the analysis of discourse concerning the image of the city; contemporary utopias and urban ideals; and the “virtualisation” of the city, designed as a screen for economic activities and a platform for technological development.1

Please send proposals (max. 2500 characters including spaces) before 28 March 2014 to

See original full call posted on the China Centre’s blog (in French).

  1. Translation by Aurélia Martin. []

Aurélia Martin

Chargée de communications et des médias pour l'UMR Chine Corée Japon (CNRS)

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OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
Aurélia Martin (March 22, 2014). Call for papers: Ideas of the city in Asia. URBACHINA. Retrieved July 17, 2024 from

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