This course aims to provide the general theoretical backcloth for the programme, to offer a map of the relevant academic literature for prospective urban managers and an understanding of the key drivers of urbanization and urban change in and beyond Asia. It will explore the key contributors to our theoretical and conceptual understanding of the contemporary city, the notable paradigm shifts in urban theory and different disciplinary perspectives on urbanism and urbanization. In doing so, the course will engage with the following topics: what is a city?; urbanization and demography; cities, the global and the local; cities and economic competitiveness; social justice, inequality and the differentiated city; shifting geographies of urbanization and cities in particular regions; urban change and conflict; city futures and sustainability. Particular attention will be given to Asian urbanization and the extent to which our current theoretical understanding of urban processes and urbanization remains inappropriately western-centric.