The university and East Asian cities : the variegated origins of urban universities in colonial Seoul and Singapore

Do Young OH*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores and compares the development of colonial urban universities in Seoul and Singapore for the purpose of examining the multifaceted and scaled socio-political relationships in colonial cities. The colonial universities were a contested space where different interests crossed. The pattern of these intersections was different because Seoul and Singapore experienced different colonial powers—Japan and Britain, respectively. In this regard, this article focuses on how different colonial experiences affected universities as well as urban environments in Seoul and Singapore. The findings show that the university campus development trends of colonial universities in Seoul and Singapore are important to understand the urbanization processes of both cities. The varied colonial interests, global and local, shaped universities and their surrounding urban environments in different ways. Understanding these differences helps us understand the development trajectory of East Asian urbanization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-360
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Fieldwork in Singapore for this research was partially supported by the LSE Partnership PhD Mobility Scheme and the Santander Travel Research Fund.


  • colonialism
  • comparative urbanism
  • East Asia
  • universities
  • urbanization


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