The Umbrella Movements occupies Mongkok, Hong Kong, October 2014. Photo by Mike Douglass

Cities in Asia by and for the People

This book examines the active role of urban citizens in constructing alternative urban spaces as tangible resistance towards capitalist production of urban spaces that continue to encroach various neighborhoods, lanes, commons, public land and other spaces of community life and livelihoods.

The collection of narratives presented here brings together research from ten different Asian cities and re-theorises the city from the perspective of ordinary people facing moments of crisis, contestations, and cooperative quests to create alternative spaces to those being produced under prevailing urban processes. The chapters accent the exercise of human agency through daily practices in the production of urban space and the intention is not one of creating a romantic or utopian vision of what a city by and for the people ought to be. Rather, it is to place people in the centre as mediators of city-making with discontents about current conditions and desires for a better life.


Yves Cabannes is an Urban Planner and activist, Emeritus Professor of Development Planning and former Chair (2006-2015) of the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London, UK. He holds a PhD in Development Planning from Paris Sorbonne University.

Mike Douglass is Emeritus Professor and former Chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawai’i where he was also Director of the Globalization Research Center. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA.

Rita Padawangi is Senior Lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences and Regional Coordinator of the Southeast Asia Neighborhoods Network (SEANNET) program, International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS). She holds a PhD in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago.




Amsterdam University Press

Publication date

September 2018