Urbanisation and Development in South-east Asia
This paper deals with three issues. It begins by alerting the reader to the considerable problems of measurement that bedevil the study of urbanisation, and these problems are not confined to South-east Asia alone. Lack of awareness of these measurement issues can lead to incorrect assessments of trends in urbanisation, and in some cases inappropriate policy recommendations. It then proceeds to discuss the growth of mega-urban regions, and appropriate ways of analysing trends in such regions, recommending the use of zonal analysis to better understand the dynamics of change in these complex regions. The approach is shown to yield important findings for the largest cities in East and South-east Asia, as well as for one Indian city studied – Mumbai. Finally, the paper raises various issues regarding the uniqueness or otherwise of South-east Asian patterns of urbanisation, and the political economy of urbanisation trends in the region.