The study of urbanization in Southeast Asia has been a growing field of research over the past decades. The Routledge Handbook of Urbanization in Southeast Asia offers a collection of the major streams and themes in the studies of the cities in the region. A focus on the urbanization process rather than the city as an object opens the topic more broadly to bring together different perspectives. This timely handbook presents these diverse views to build a clearer understanding of theoretical contributions of urban studies in Southeast Asia and to provide a complete collection of scholarly works that are thematically structured and a useful tool for teaching urbanization in Southeast Asia.

Following the introduction by the editor, the handbook is structured along central, emerging themes. It contains six parts, which are each introduced by the editor:

  • Theorizing Urbanization in Southeast Asia
  • Migration, Networks and Identities
  • Development and Discontents
  • Environmental Governance
  • The Social Production of the Urban Fabric
  • Social Change and Alternative Development

This handbook will be an essential reference work for scholars interested in Urban Studies, cities and urbanization in Asia, and Southeast Asian Studies.

chapter |4 pages


part I|125 pages

Theorizing urbanization in Southeast Asia

chapter |2 pages


Theorizing urbanization in Southeast Asia

chapter 3|11 pages

Knowledge, creativity and the city

chapter 6|15 pages

Provisional notes on semi-urbanism

chapter 8|14 pages

Challenges and opportunities of comparative urbanism

The case of Brunei-Miri and Singapore-Iskandar Malaysia

chapter 9|15 pages

Debilitating city-centricity

Urbanization and urban-rural hybridity in Southeast Asia

part II|71 pages

Migration, networks and identities

chapter |2 pages


Migration, networks and identities

chapter 10|11 pages

Longing and belonging in a global city

Skilled migrants in Singaporean urban space

chapter 13|11 pages

God’s many faces

Religious pluralism in urban Southeast Asia

chapter 14|12 pages

Between tradition and modernity

The ritual politics of indigenous cultural heritage in urbanizing Sabah, East Malaysia

chapter 15|11 pages

Networks beyond the nation

Urban histories of Northern Thailand and beyond

part III|117 pages

Development and discontents

chapter |2 pages


Development and discontents

chapter 16|14 pages

Mega-regionalization of a nation

Philippine mega-regions and the impulse to globalize

chapter 17|18 pages

Kota Kinabalu

Checkered past, present challenges, bright future?

chapter 18|10 pages

Transforming Kuala Lumpur

Hybrid urbanisms in motion

chapter 19|16 pages

From socialist modernism to market modernism?

Master-planned developments in post-reform Vietnam

chapter 20|12 pages

Peri-urbanization in the Surabaya metropolitan area

An industrial transformation perspective

chapter 21|11 pages

Contesting development

Youth and industrial labor in peri-urban Banten, Indonesia

chapter 23|13 pages

Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island

City of spectacle

part IV|66 pages

Environmental governance

part V|60 pages

The social production of the urban fabric

chapter |2 pages


The social production of the urban fabric

chapter 31|9 pages

Contested heritage in Luang Prabang

part VI|48 pages

Social change and alternative development

chapter |1 pages


Social change and alternative development

chapter 37|17 pages

Disciplining dissent

Freedom, control, and digital activism in Southeast Asia