Extended Metropolitan Development in Southeast Asia: From Primate Cities to Territorial Urban Diffusion

  • Charles Goldblum
  • Tai-Chee Wong
Part of the Advances in Geographical and Environmental Sciences book series (AGES)


Primate cities in Southeast Asia, primarily a Western colonization product, have evolved from port cities to metropolitan development since World War II. Their growth was mainly attributable to high postwar population growth rates, massive rural-urban migration, and export-led industrialization and agglomeration effects accelerated by global linkages. Spatial effects of globalization impacts used to be more substantial in more internationally integrated market economies (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia), but they have now penetrated also the transitional economies (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar). Our aim in this paper is to revisit the theoretical debate whether primate city regions have grown “too big” as well as reassess the question of equilibrium city size in the context of decentralization and regional integration strategies – namely, through extensive physical infrastructure networks – in the new ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) framework. Other issues such as the characteristics of the Southeast Asian primate cities in the urbanization process, their major development trends in the twenty-first century, and the ways in which they have responded to the territorial impacts of globalization are also addressed.


Primate city Metropolitan development Southeast Asia Urbanization Foreign investment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Goldblum
    • 1
  • Tai-Chee Wong
    • 2
  1. 1.AUSSER (UMR CNRS/ENSAPB) Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-BellevilleUniversity of Paris 8ParisFrance
  2. 2.Faculty of Humanities & Social SciencesSouthern University CollegeSkudaiMalaysia

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