International Development Planning Review

Asia’s changing cities: water, climate and power in the transformation of urban spaces

International Development Planning Review (2020), 42, (3), 263–272.


This introduction to the special issue lays out the key themes and arguments across the five research papers and Viewpoint. Foremost, we highlight how by bringing this research across diverse Asian cities together into one special issue, the work reveals how water is foundational to the city. To illuminate how our work on water urbanisms in Asia has the potential to ‘rethink the way in which cities operate’ (Xiao, 2016, 3367), this special issue examines the central paradigms of ‘water and the city’ by emphasising the ‘water work’ of multiple actors, to identify possibilities and opportunities, in addition to ‘governance failures’ in the production of the urban form (Bakker et al., 2008). In particular, these papers provide compelling evidence that to comprehend fully the future of Asian cities in the Anthropocene, it is necessary to understand their related topographies, their water systems and, also, their practices and politics of water distribution. These contributions are thus well positioned to contribute to engaged debates in geography and planning on development, water and the ‘urban condition’ as linked to environmental change and social justice, through a range of disciplinary approaches.

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Author details

Daniere, Amrita

Lamb, Vanessa