CALL FOR PAPERS - Intercity Networks and Urban Governance in Asia

This multidisciplinary conference examines urban governance in Asia from the perspective of intercity networks. Asia is home to around half of the world’s urban population and many of the most populous cities.


This multidisciplinary conference examines urban governance in Asia from the perspective of intercity networks. Asia is home to around half of the world’s urban population and many of the most populous cities. Over recent years, urbanization has been fuelled by rapid economic growth, industrialization and shifting global trade flows towards Asia, as well as by issues relating to rural poverty, unemployment and environmental degradation. Across Asia, mayors, city administrations and urban residents have been trying to keep pace with urbanization by initiating networks of cooperation to deal with shared challenges such as public service delivery for burgeoning populations, community building and the management of limited resources for livable and sustainable cities. In the process, some cities are emerging as centers of innovation and best practice in urban governance within and beyond the Asian region, or are perceived as such.

This event explores the relationship between urban governance and intercity networks in Asia, as well as the structures and processes of intercity network formation and how such cooperative arrangements are maintained, strengthened or dissolved over time. Intercity networks of collaboration are not a new phenomenon, having long preceded the modern nation-state in the form of myriad formal and informal networks between imperial city-states. Today, intercity networks are being reconfigured by globalization and the unprecedented movement of information, peoples, technologies, commerce and cultures between cities, which in turn open up new possibilities for urban governance in increasingly diverse societies.

We invite the submission of theoretical and empirical contributions to the study of modern Asian intercity networks in different areas of urban governance. In this, we encourage papers that reflect the diverse character of Asia’s intercity networks in relation to local governance issues. Some Asian cities form part of global networks with a worldwide presence and global membership base through extensive usage of internet technologies (for example, Metropolis [World Association of Major Metropolises], United Cities and Local Governments [UCLG], and WeGo [World e-Governments Organization of Cities and Local Governments]). Others emphasize more traditional and personalized connections to protect and promote cooperative agreements between cities through travel, educational and cultural exchange programs (for example, through ‘twin town’ and ‘sister city’ schemes, and via study tours). Many other city networks have emerged in direct response to common challenges around specific issues of good governance, sustainable urban development, cultural heritage and environmental protection (such as Cities Alliance [Cities Without Slums], ICLEI [Local Governments for Sustainability]; CITYNET, Cities Development Initiative for Asia, Asian Productivity Organization, and Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities Center).

Questions that will guide the conference proceedings to speak across integrated themes include:

- To what extent are new forms of association and engagement through intercity networks complementing and/or replacing more traditional forms of governance in Asian cities?

- Who, or what, speaks for ‘the city’ in the establishment of collaborative networks about urban governance?

- To what extent are intercity networks inclusive of diverse members of civil society? Are the representatives of intercity networks receptive and responsive to the viewpoints of their key community stakeholders?

- Are Asian cities passively or actively mapped into broader networks of intercity collaboration, and to what degree does meaningful dialogue and exchange actually take place?

- In what ways are Asian cities able to assert themselves as cities of global prominence and as models of best practice in good governance through the mobilization of intercity networks?


Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (250 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words using the Paper Proposal Submission Form (found on the main event webpage). Please send your form to Dr Michelle Miller at [email protected] by 15 November 2011.

Successful applicants will be notified by 30 November 2011 and will be required to send in a completed draft paper (5,000 - 8,000 words) by 10 February 2012.


Conference Convenors

Dr Michelle MILLER
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
Email: [email protected]

Assoc Prof Tim BUNNELL
Asia Research Institute and Department of Geography, National University of Singapore
Email: [email protected]


Miss Sharon ONG
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
#10-01 Tower Block,469A Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259770
Email: [email protected]
Tel: (65) 6516 8784
Fax: (65) 6779 1428

Published: 17 Aug 2011

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