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Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global

Ananya Roy (Editor), Aihwa Ong (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-9277-4
376 pages
August 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global (1405192771) cover image


Worlding Cities is the first serious examination of Asian urbanism to highlight the connections between different Asian models and practices of urbanization. It includes important contributions from a respected group of scholars across a range of generations, disciplines, and sites of study.
  • Describes the new theoretical framework of ‘worlding’
  • Substantially expands and updates the themes of capital and culture
  • Includes a unique collection of authors across generations, disciplines, and sites of study
  • Demonstrates how references to Asian power, success, and hegemony make possible urban development and limit urban politics
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Notes on Contributors viii

Series Editors’ Preface xiii

Preface and Acknowledgments xv

Introduction Worlding Cities, or the Art of Being Global 1
Aihwa Ong

Part I Modeling 27

1 Singapore as Model: Planning Innovations, Knowledge Experts 29
Chua Beng Huat

2 Urban Modeling and Contemporary Technologies of City-Building in China: The Production of Regimes of Green Urbanisms 55
Lisa Hoffman

3 Planning Privatopolis: Representation and Contestation in the Development of Urban Integrated Mega-Projects 77
Gavin Shatkin

4 Ecological Urbanization: Calculating Value in an Age of Global Climate Change 98
Shannon May

Part II Inter-Referencing 127

5 Retuning a Provincialized Middle Class in Asia's Urban Postmodern: The Case of Hong Kong 129
Helen F. Siu

6 Cracks in the Façade: Landscapes of Hope and Desire in Dubai 160
Chad Haines

7 Asia in the Mix: Urban Form and Global Mobilities – Hong Kong, Vancouver, Dubai 182
Glen Lowry and Eugene McCann

8 Hyperbuilding: Spectacle, Speculation, and the Hyperspace of Sovereignty 205
Aihwa Ong

Part III New Solidarities 227

9 Speculating on the Next World City 229
Michael Goldman

10 The Blockade of the World-Class City: Dialectical Images of Indian Urbanism 259
Ananya Roy

11 Rule by Aesthetics: World-Class City Making in Delhi 279
D. Asher Ghertner

Conclusion Postcolonial Urbanism: Speed, Hysteria, Mass Dreams 307
Ananya Roy

Index 336

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Author Information

Ananya Roy is Professor of City and Regional Planning and Co-Director of Global Metropolitan Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her most recent book is Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development (2010).

Aihwa Ong is Professor of Socio-cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her most recent publications are Privatizing China, Socialism from Afar (2008) and Asian Biotech: Ethics and Communities of Fate (2010).

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“I am hopeful that this collection, along with others of its kind, will inspire new lines of research and theorisation that will help arrest the actual realities of cities in an era of planetary urbanisation.”  (Urban Studies, 1 February  2015)


"Urban studies is marked by an ingrained tendency to consider cities in Western Europe and North America as the leading edge of global urban change. This important book draws attention to ways in which cities in Asia are experimenting with ways of being global which do not necessarily refer back to antecedents in the North Atlantic world. The book should be read not only by Asianists but by anyone who is interested in the dynamics of urban change globally."
Tim Bunnell, National University of Singapore

“The contributors to Worlding Cities bring new ethnographic attention to urban sites of innovation, cultural connections, and potentially transformative aspirations. They connect what is happening in cities to the ways changing relations among cities are remaking connections across national boundaries. And in the process they help to remake social science with new connections among anthropologists, geographers, and urban planners. Focused mainly on Asia, this is work that matters globally.”
Craig Calhoun, President, Social Science Research Council

"A refreshing and wide-ranging volume that makes a timely contribution to debates in urban studies, geography, and planning. Rather than attempt to identify the features of a 'global' city or trace the reproduction of 'Western' forms in Asian cities, this collection examines how projects of 'worlding' are actively assembled and urban futures envisaged. It uncovers diverse routes through which cities inter-reference one another and are produced as distinctive spaces of experimentation and aspiration in contexts of uncertainty and inequality."
Colin McFarlane, Durham University, UK

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