UKNA Objective

Experiencing the largest wave of urbanisation in human history, a majority of Asia’s overall population will be living in urban areas by 2030. Effective urban management is needed to address the unparalleled growth of Asian megacities. Creating a balance between benefits and costs of urbanisation with a view to improving the quality of urban life is becoming increasingly important. UKNA’s main objective is to study how Asian cities, as organic socio-spatial entities, can manage their space and improve their liveability. To this end, the programme hosts a variety of research projects in the three key thematic areas of heritage, housing and the environment. The three UKNA themes are not meant to “stand alone”, but will be linked to each other through the common challenges of urban planning, management and governance.

  • Heritage
    Encompassing both material and immaterial urban patrimony, such as cities’ historic built environment as well as their traditions, memories and social fabric.
  • Housing
    Examining the broader housing sector, from the actual physical units and their surrounding neighbourhoods to housing policy questions with a link to social and economic development, including spatial planning and poverty reduction.
  • Environment
    Covering a host of sub-topics in sustainable urban development, including “liveable” cities, transportation planning, urbanisation and climate change, urban disaster management, and innovations in building technology.

To ensure the achievement of UKNA’s key objective, a core methodology can be identified. The UKNA advocates:

  • Policy-relevant academic research
    UKNA seeks to provide a bridge between academia and practice. UKNA research projects should be both high-quality in academic terms and relevant to policy makers and urban practitioners inAsia and beyond.
  • Multi-disciplinary urban research
    UKNA seeks to identify how physical, social, economic, cultural and institutional factors shape the growth and evolution of cities. To be able to understand cities as complex, organic and dynamic systems the UKNA encourages dynamic and inter-disciplinary research.
  • A bottom-up approach
    UKNA is represented by more than 100 researchers coming from 13 different institutes located across three continents. Their backgrounds vary both in experience and in research topic. This pluralistic and decentralised approach intends to represent a multitude of different voices and approaches to the common research object of Asian cities.

About UKNA

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