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"our modern": Re-appropriating Asia's Urban Heritage

Our cities are full of tangible and intangible assets and heritage. Among such resources, we at mAAN particularly concern ourselves about buildings that were created during the "modern" period. Not only do those buildings- although remnants of bygone days-still exist in our daily living environment with a certain sense of "place," they also keep accumulating new layers in our memory on top of any past history. Certainly, there is a view that "modern" cities in Asia are creations of Westernization and colonization, historical processes initiated and forced upon Asia by the "Other," and therefore they are shunned as impure, at least by some people. However, what does it really mean to reject an urban space that has been the setting for our lives, on the pretext that such space was originally imposed upon us by "Others"? Do we think we can really return to "the good old days" by ripping out all the "modern" memories from our collective histories? Are we not who we are in spite of, and at the same time, because of these memories of the recent past?

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