Asian Independence: Notes on Modernism and Creativity in the Built Environment

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This article discusses three recently published books examining the cities of East Asia. The first, Southeast Asia’s Modern Architecture: Questions of Translation, Epistemology and Power (2019), edited by Jiat-Hwee Chang and Imran bin Tajudeen,1 “explores the histories of Southeast Asia’s architecture and built environment in the twentieth century” (p. 2) while actually questioning “the validity and utility of Southeast Asia as a geographic unit and taxonomic device for framing and understanding” it (p. 2). The second, Lawrence Chua’s Bangkok Utopia: Modern Architecture and Buddhist Felicities, 1910-1973 (2021),2 “outlines an alternative genealogy of both utopia and modernism in a part of the world that has often been overlooked by scholars of both” (p. 1), while Creativity in Tokyo: Revitalizing a Mature City (2020), edited by Matjaz Ursic and Heidi Imai,3 “is an attempt to initiate discussion on the partial or nonholistic use of creativity concepts for specific economic and political goals, as well as to show their possible short- and long-term effects” (p. ix).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-700
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Urban History
Volume49 (2023)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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  • architecture
  • Modernism
  • creativity
  • Bangkok
  • Tokyo
  • Southeast Asia


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