Whereas in the first half of the 20th century, cities like Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila and Ho Chi Minh City were small, pleasant and orderly, they are now among the largest and fastest growing metropolitan areas in the world. Rapid urbanisation is changing the face of Southeast Asia, including the region’s many smaller and medium-sized cities. The scale and pace of the changes are posing both huge challenges and opportunities on local policy makers. While urbanisation is driving economic growth, many Southeast Asian cities suffer from a lack of infrastructure and efficient mass transit options, profound inequalities, along with enormous pressure on existing social and environmental structures and resources. Although urban planning is key to ensuring sustainable development in Southeast Asia’s rapidly growing cities, it is inconsistent and often fails to accommodate the way of life of the majority of the inhabitants.
(Dis)Orderly / Southeast Asia attempts to document the spectacular transformation of the region’s urban landscape, along with the debris of its breakneck growth, the lure of hidden street corners, the intertwining drama of poverty and wealth, and the colours of tropical decay.
Ralph Steinegger (b. 1976 near Zurich) has lived in Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, New York, Istanbul and Singapore. He is using his analogue cameras to document mostly cities and show their contradictions, hidden sides, and poetry.
© text and pictures by Ralph Steinegger