Introduction: From Consciousness to Responsibility
Since the Second World War, Asian nations have experienced some of the fastest economic growth in the world. This growth was especially rapid in East and Southeast Asia, where the initial onset was the emergence of the ‘Four Small Dragons’ of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong during the 1970s. That was soon followed by the remarkable growth of the ‘Big Dragon’ China from the 1980s. Southeast Asia exerted its presence amongst the so-called miracle economies, notably in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Although slowed to differing extents by the economic crisis from 1997, most of these economies have been refocused and are again stimulating great change. Yet, parallel with the extraordinary growth, in particular of the ultramodern metropolises and the littoral zones, unequal development has generated economic and regional imbalances. As well, development has often been inappropriate and ineffectively controlled. These factors have impacted in particular upon ethnic, religious and other minority populations such as people living in remote communities. If this is to be overcome, prominent issues to be addressed are the type and levels of development which should be pursued. The aim of this book is to examine specific local needs and issues, as well as responses to development and impacts of various projects, in case studies which allow comparative observations.