chapter  18
14 Pages

Postcolonial Southeast Asia

ByAbidin Kusno

This chapter shows the different ways in which planning helped transform postcolonial Southeast Asian cities. Nationalist leaders in various Southeast Asian capital cities tried to overcome the colonial legacy by covering or marginalizing colonial structures with a new layer of modern buildings and nationalist monuments. The chapter argues that while globalization and nationalism have become dominant forces of urbanization, the colonial legacy of divided cities and fragmented planning continues to haunt the postcolonial city. With the end of Western colonialism, nationalist elites hoped to transform colonial space into egalitarian postcolonial space, supported by an ideal modern infrastructure applied to all parts of the city. Postwar planning literature focuses on the legacy of Western colonial urban planning in postcolonial cities and how the new ruling elites sought to overcome, successfully or unsuccessfully, colonial legacy, planning their own future and writing their own histories.