Urbanisation, Monsoon Asia and the Agrarian Question

Authors: Stephen Cairns*,
Topics: Urban Geography, Agricultural Geography, Asia
Keywords: Urban, rural, agrarian, remote sensing, urbanisation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Hampton Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper considers recent critiques of city-centric conceptions of urbanisation in order to address the hybrid urban-rural settlement patterns that typify many parts of monsoon Asia. It argues that such regions, while supporting the largest population concentrations in the world, are under-represented in current theories of urbanisation. The paper makes a case for re-examining the category of the 'rural', for (re)newed inter-disciplinary affiliations between urban studies and agricultural science, and for methodological innovation to adequately study such conditions. The first part of the paper fleshes out the critiques of city-centric urbanisation. The paper then goes on to consider the theoretical legacy of agricultural studies, and the agrarian question, before outlining emerging ways of seeing that support research on contemporary hybrid urban-rural conditions in Monsoon Asia. A final section elaborates this point by demonstrating a number of methodological experiments that combine ethnographic fieldwork and remote sensing being developed by the Urban-Rural Systems (www.ur.systems) research team at the ETH Zürich's Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) in Singapore.

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