Decentralized Governance and Local Leadership in Urbanizing Asia

Memo #255

By Michelle Ann Miller – arimam [at] and Tim Bunnell – geotgb [at]

The trend toward decentralized governance in twenty-first century urbanizing Asia has ushered in a critical role for local leadership. With around 1.5 billion people currently living in its… Continue reading

Japan as Test Case for a New Age: The Importance of Understanding Local Places

Memo #240

By Anthony S. Rausch – asrausch [at]

Japan faces an aging population and rural out-migration, a sluggish economy and drastic divisions between urban-rural economies, a critical techno-environmental catastrophe and vital debates regarding energy policy. A bleak set of problems, but also a fair representation of some of the issues the… Continue reading

China – Global Shipping, Coal Usage, High Speed Train Corridors (Video Interview with Dr. Claude Comtois)

Memo #155 – China is a driving force in global shipping, coal usage, and high speed train corridors. Based on a series of lectures at The University of British Columbia in February 2012, Dr. Claude Comtois argues, that in combination these three developments have enormous implications for China and the world. Continue reading

Regulating International Student Mobility – Agents and Markets in New Zealand

Memo #151 – International student mobility is a huge industry. 3.3 million students studied outside of their country of citizenship in 2008. In some countries like Australia and New Zealand, international students represent about 15 per cent of total post-secondary enrolments. Student mobility is often conceived as a straightforward exercise in demand and supply. Students willing to pay the costs of overseas study represent the demand. Educational services provided by post-secondary institutions – many facing reduced state funding – represent the supply. This free market model ignores the multitude of mediating actors involved in student mobility. Continue reading

Japan’s Soma City One Year after the Disaster (Video Interview with Dr. David W. Edgington)

Memo #138 – Dr. David Edgington has conducted research on Soma City, Japan, since last year’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. Soma City, one of many devastated communities, is a remote agriculture and fishing village along the coast and is a part of the Fukushima prefecture. Continue reading

Through Taiwan is the Shortest Route between Japan and China

Memo #98 – Joint ventures between Taiwanese and Japanese firms in China survive longer than companies formed only with Japanese capital. Research shows that Japanese firms have a better chance of success in China through alliances with their Taiwanese partners. The survival rate (which measures firms or joint ventures started in the 1990s up to the year 2005) in China has been around 68 per cent when Japanese companies entered the market alone. But the rate is 10 per cent higher if they worked with Taiwanese corporations. Taiwan can play a critical role in trilateral relations and create a win-win-win environment. Continue reading

Ten Years after Indonesia’s ‘Big Bang’

Memo #83 – 2011 marks a decade since the implementation of Indonesia’s democratic decentralization project (the ‘Big Bang’), the largest of its kind in the world. With the exception of Jakarta and three other provinces with special autonomy arrangements, most state powers and responsibilities were devolved to sub-provincial governments. Ten years ago, there was a nationwide reordering of the structures and processes of government and we can now evaluate the success of these policies. Continue reading

Lessons from Rebuilding Kobe after the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake

Memo #40 – The Great Hanshin earthquake devastated Kobe on January 17, 1995, leading to 6000 deaths and the destruction of over 200,000 homes. Beyond immediate reconstruction and recovery, the book, “Reconstructing Kobe: The Geography of Crisis and Opportunity” examines the long-term planning implications of the disaster. What were the city’s objectives in rebuilding urban areas? How were the hundreds of thousands of displaced people housed? How was Kobe’s urban economy affected? Continue reading