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The present project on the Asian-Pacific Urban System has its genesis in a Symposium on the Mega-city and the Future co-hosted by the United Nations University and the Population Division of the United Nations in Tokyo in October 1990. A number of participants sharing a common interest in Asian cities discussed the prospects of mounting a research project that would address the emerging and close connections between global restructuring and Asian cities, particularly those situated along the Western Pacific Rim. The role of these cities in a global economy warranted a systematic investigation, for it is increasingly recognized that the Asia-Pacific region has become the fastest growth region in the world. The critical importance of its cities in spearheading economic growth and socio-economic transformation is the major focus of this project.

A project proposal crystallizing some of the thoughts and propositions expressed in Tokyo was soon prepared. The document was discussed at a project development meeting in April 1991 co-hosted by the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS) in Seoul and the United Nations University. Work was assigned to participants and, for several countries/cities, there was still the need to identify researchers from the region to undertake the work. In any event, the process of identifying scholars to focus attention on a common theme covering all major countries and cities in Pacific Asia was soon successfully completed.

The next and final project meeting was held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in February 1992. Most of the papers were presented and discussed, with the need in some cases for revision or additional work given the common focus of the project. The task of following up on the remaining work took a good deal more time than anticipated but was eventually completed in the late summer of 1993.

The successful conclusion of the project has made it incumbent on us to thank many individuals and institutions. First and foremost, we wish to express our deep appreciation to the United Nations University for financial support of the project, particularly to Dr. Roland Fuchs, its Vice-President, who not only gave his personal blessing but attended the meetings in Tokyo and Seoul. The substantive and continuing administration of the project fell on the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which is a partner with the United Nations University in this project and its publication. We wish to thank our colleagues in both institutions for assisting the project in diverse ways over the years.

In particular, at the Institute Janet Wong handled all the correspondence with contributing authors, and Irene Lai and Lui Siu-yun, of the Urban and Regional Development in Pacific Asia Programme, provided competent research assistance. At the University's Department of Geography, Jane Wan and Yu Yuk-mui typed and retyped parts of the manuscript, and S. L. Too deserves all the credit in drawing and redrawing all the illustrations. Above all, our heart-felt thanks go to all contributing authors, who have responded conscientiously to our requests for information, data, and perspectives to make the project as internally consistent as possible. Dealing with substantive matters by mail and over long distances is not the most desirable method, but, with understanding and perseverance, we have finally achieved our common goals in this project and, we hope, are one step closer to reaching an understanding of the shifting and growing importance of the cities in the Asia-Pacific region. Finally, we are grateful for the constructive comments by two anonymous referees to which we have responded to the extent possible. We are responsible for any remaining shortcomings and errors.

The editors
Tokyo and Hong Kong

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