chapter
Introduction
ByTIM OAKES, JUNE WANG
Pages 14

This book explores the practices and policies of making cultural/creative cities in Asia. Such practices and policies have become widespread, from international film festivals in places like Busan, South Korea, and an urban renaissance driven by the nostalgic invention of imperial culture in Xi’an, China, to the urban promotion of national culture in Malaysia and the competing aspirations of Singapore and Hong Kong to be Asia’s cultural hubs. Urban cultural policies in Asia have, in other words, gone far beyond the objective of promoting local culture industries. Culture and creativity are now instruments serving the ‘global city’ ambitions of Asia. The wave of cultural city-making has become one of the most influential urban developmental strategies worldwide, as cities search for new directions to counteract their decaying Fordist production systems (Castells, 2000; Scott, 2006, 2007). More importantly, these strategies demonstrate an effort to build an ‘overall structural competitiveness’ (Jessop and Sum, 2000) in the global urban network. The emergence of an urban cultural policy agenda – and the restructuring that often results – is a highly politicized process with often contradictory but very real material impacts. Any study of the politics of cultural-driven urban development must be put within this globalizing context, in which ‘elsewhere is right here as much as it is over there’ in the policy world (Cochrane, 2011, xi). Innovative ideas, fast policies, and ‘best-practice’ models have travelled through global networks established by supranational organizations and populated by mayors, consultants, and other key actors.