The capacities to aspire of communities and institutions are crucial to understanding the success or failure of projects through which urban societies evolve. Urban collectivities organize themselves through projects with an orientation toward the future and may form self-conscious and institutionalized project identities.
The Urban Aspirations research project aims to map and theorise capacities to aspire through collaborative multi-sited ethnography in and across Asian cities. We seek to compare projects and their aspirational thrusts across more formal collectivities, such as urban planning boards, and less formal or less consciously construed collectivities such as street vendors, heritage activists and rural-to-urban migrant networks.
Our ethnographic investigations seek to respond to the following overarching questions: What kinds of futures do Asian cities conjure? How are urban aspirations (re)constituted and enacted? And what interests or communities are these aspirations intend to serve?