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Douglas Webster

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Professor Emeritus
Affiliated Faculty

Douglas Webster has worked on urban development issues for thirty-five years, primarily in East Asia, but also in Latin America, Africa, and North America.

Professor Webster's current interests are comparative city building - how cities are differentially built in different jurisdictions and cultures; comparative urban form and dynamics; urban competitiveness and resilience; and peri-urbanization (most urban development is occurring on the fringes of cities worldwide). Geographically, his work focuses on East Asia. His current research interests focus on: (i) The impact of China’s One Belt One Road Strategy on the urban systems and sub-national economies of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) which includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Southwest China, Thailand, and Vietnam; (ii) Peri-urbanization in China and Thailand; (iii) Urban resiliency in the GMS, particularly Thailand; and (iv) The future of the Dhaka Megapolitan Region in Bangladesh. Professor Webster is currently co-authoring a book on Chinese urban futures, based on extensive field work on city building processes in China over the last two decades.

Professor Webster was a Senior Consulting Professor in the Urban Dynamics of East Asia program at the Asia Pacific Research Center of Stanford University from 1998 to 2004. He has been professor of planning at the University of British Columbia, Asian Institute of Technology, Utrecht University, and the University of Calgary. He was the Senior Urban Advisor to the Thai Government from 1993 to 1998. Early in his career, he was a staff member of the World Bank, based in Malaysia. Over the last three decades Webster has been a frequent advisor to international organizations, such as the World Bank, and private corporations involved in city building processes and urbanization policies.  


Ph.D. University of California-Berkeley

Research Interests: 

Comparative urban dynamics, city building, urban competitiveness and resilience, peri-urbanization, and urban land use efficiency / sustainability, with a geographic focus on East and Southeast Asia

  • Webster, Douglas; Gulbrandson, Andrew. Urban Development in the Greater Mekong Subregion: The Role of Cities in Promoting GMS Sustainability and Competitiveness. (2014).
  • Maneepong, C., Webster, D., Chiasakul, R., Wittayarungruangsri, S (Webster 2nd author). Assessing NHA's Low-Income Housing Delivery Role in the Greater Bangkok Region. Asia Pacific Housing Journal Volume 7, 23 (2013).
  • Webster, D., Cai, J. (Webster Lead Author). Pivoting from Quantity to Quality: A New SWuburban Community Development in China. Asia Pacific Housing Journal (2013).
  • Yang, Z.,Cai,J., Dunford, A., Webster, D., (Webster Fourth Author). Rethinking the Relationship between Agriculture and the "Urban" Economy in Beijing: An Input-Output Approach. Technology and Economic Development (2013).
  • Webster, D., Cai, J., Wen, T., Muller, L. (Webster lead author). Urban Systems / Regional Development Policy Implications: China's 2010 Census. (2013).
  • Cai, J., Yang, Z., Webster, D., Song, T., Gulbranson, A (Webster third author). Chongqing: Beyond the Latecomer Advantage. Asia Pacific Viewpoint (2012).
  • Webster, D., Cai, J., Wen, T., Muller, L. (Webster Lead Author). A First Glance at China's 2010 Census. (2012).
  • Webster, D.,. An Overdue Agenda: Systematizing East Asian Peri-Urban Research. Pacific Affairs (2011).
  • Webster, Douglas, A. Bertaud, J. Cai, Z. Yang. Toward Efficient Urban Form in China. United Nations University Working Paper No. 2010/97 (2010).
  • Rabe, Paul, Douglas Webster, et al. Urban Planning & Development Responses to Climate Change: Adaptation & Mitigation: Ho Chi Minh City. Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development and Ho Chi Minh City Peoples Committee (Published by UCLA) (2010).
  • Webster, Douglas. Affordable Housing Delivery in Thailand: A Contextual Assessment. GH Housing Journal (2009).
  • . . Review of: The Roman City and its Periphery: From Rome to Gaul (2009).
  • Webster, Douglas and Pam McElwee. Urban Adaptation to Climate Change: Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City as Test Beds. World Bank (2009).
  • Maneepong, Chuthatip and Douglas Webster. Governance Response to Emerging Peri-Urbanisation Issues at the Global-Local Nexus: Ayutthaya, Thailand. International Development Planning Review (2008).
  • Douglas Webster. Exploring Urban Growth Management in Three Developing Cities. (2008).
  • Douglas Webster. Incorporating New Understanding of What Constitutes Place-Based Competitiveness into Urban Competitiveness Indices. Urban Competitiveness Evaluation Systems (2008).
  • Webster, Douglas Richard. Supporting Sustainable Development in Thailand: A Geographic Clusters Approach. (2006).
  • Webster, Douglas Richard, Cai, Jianming, Maneepong, Chuthatip. Metropolitan Governance in China: Priorities for Action in the Context of Chinese Urban Dynamics and International Experience. (2006).
  • Webster, Douglas Richard, Muller, L. City Development Strategies: Driving Urban Performance. (2006).
  • A Schneider, K Seto, Douglas Webster. Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Urban Land Use Change in Chengdu , China, Using Remote Sensing and Landscape Metrics. Environment and Planning B, 2005 (2005).
  • Douglas Webster, A Schneider, K Seto. Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Urban Land Use Change in Chengdu , China, Using Remote Sensing and Landscape Metrics. Environment and Planning B (2005).
  • Webster, Douglas Richard (Author) . Urbanization: new drivers, new outcomes. Thailand Beyond the Crisis (2005).
  • Webster, Douglas Richard (Author) ,Theeratham, P (Author) . Policy Coordination, Planning and Infrastructure Provision: A Case Study of Thailand. Connecting East Asia: A New Framework for Infrastructure (2005).
  • Webster, Douglas Richard, Muller, Larissa. Global Peri-urbanization. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (2004).
  • Douglas Webster. East Asian Urbanization: A Bird's Eye View. Stedebouw & Ruimtelijke Ordening (2004).
  • . . Thailand Beyond the Crisis (2004).
  • . . World Cities Beyond the West (2004).
  • . . Megacities Atlas: The European Space Agency's Contribution to a Better Understanding of a Global Challenge (2001).
  • Webster, Douglas Richard. Financing City Building: The Bangkok Case, Monograph. (2000).
  • . . Global City Regions (2000).
  • . . Localization in an Era of Globalization (2000).
  • Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development. New Paradigms of Housing and Urban Development in Thailand. Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development, University of Southern California, USA (0).
Research Activity: 
  • Webster,Douglas Richard*. The Land Efficiency Gap in China's Extended Urban Regions: The Case of the Beijing-Tianjin-Binhai Megapolis. LINCOLN INST OF LAND POL(3/11/2010 - 6/30/2011).
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
PUP 692Research
PUP 799Dissertation
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
PUP 436City Structure and Planning
PUP 692Research
PUP 799Dissertation
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
PUP 692Research
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
PUP 692Research
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
GCU 432Geography of China
PUP 436City Structure and Planning
PUP 692Research
PUP 799Dissertation
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
PUP 561Urban Design Workshop
PUP 591Seminar
PUP 792Research
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
PUP 436City Structure and Planning
PUP 792Research
  • Douglas Webster. The PRC/ASEAN Interface in the GMS: Potentials and Risks. Thmatic Workshop Awareness-Raising of Potentials, Risks and Costs of Regional Economic Integration (Mar 2014).
  • Webster, Douglas. The Greater Mekong Subregion's Urban System: Is There Value in Formalizing an urban System Covering Six Countries. Global Urbanization: Challenges & Prospects (Regional Studies Asociation (Dec 2013).
  • Webster, D., Cai, J., Muller, L. (Webster Lead Author). The New Face of Peri-Urbanization in East Asia. Annual Conference of Urban Affairs Association (Mar 2013).
  • Webster, Douglas. Revisiting Thailand’s Economic & Geographic Clusters after the 2006-2009 Economic & Political Shocks: Winners & Losers in the Spatial Economy. WCAAS (Western Conference Asian Studies) (Oct 2009).
  • Webster, Douglas. Buddhism and Hinduism in Society. Western Asian Studies Association (WCAAS) (Oct 2009).
  • Muller, Larissa and Douglas Webster. Spatial Planning and Development in China. Association of European Schools of Planning (Jul 2009).
  • Douglas Webster. Presentation on, "Incorporating New Understanding of What Constitutes Place-Based Competitiveness into Urban Competitiveness Indices". International Symposium on "Urban Competitiveness Evaluation Systems, Seoul, South Korea (Nov 2008).
  • Douglas Webster. Speech on, "Toward Efficient Urban Form in China". United Nations Workshop on Asian Development in and Urbanizing World, Kolkata, India (Nov 2008).
  • Douglas Webster. Speech on: "Exploring Urban Growth Management in Developing Countries". Invited Speech: World Bank, Washington (Mar 2008).
  • Douglas Webster. Speech on, "Opportunities for Enhanced Urban Land Use Efficiency in China". Invited Guest Lecture: Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm (Jan 2008).
  • Douglas Webster. New Urban Forms in Chinese Metropolitan Development. Invited Guest Lecture: Royal University of Fine Arts, Stockholm (Jan 2008).
  • Webster, Douglas. Shaping Metropolitan / Megapolitan Regions in China. Workshop: Joint Center for Urban Sustainability (Dec 2006).
  • Webster, Douglas. Thailands Tenth Plan Happiness Development Strategy: Is it Sustainable?. King Mongkhut - ASU Workshop on: The Missing Links in Sustainability (Bangkok) (Jun 2006).
  • Webster, Douglas. Toward Global Sustainable Landscapes: Ecology, Urban Planning and City Building. NSF/USGS/USFS Urban Ecology Workshop to Develop a Strategy for Advancing Urban Ecology (Jun 2006).
  • Webster, Douglas. Thailand's Emerging New Economy: Lagging Regions or Rural Marginalization. Guest Speaker: World Bank Lunch Speakers Series (May 2006).
  • Webster, Douglas. Extended Urbanization in China and Southeast Asia: A City Building Perspective. US NRC (Scope) Workshop on Extended Settlement Effects: Drivers, Impacts & Opportunities (Feb 2006).
  • Webster, Douglas. Effective Urban Strategizing in 21st Century East Asia. Asia Pacific Summit of Cities (Oct 2005).
  • Webster, Douglas. Urban Development Strategies: What Next?. Guest Speaker: World Bank Lunch Speakers Series (Sep 2005).
  • The Future of Asia: Process and Report for Prime Minister's Office, Canada, Pro Bono Inputs, Critiques, Consultations (2014 - Present)
  • Affiliated Faculty, Institute of Urban Development, University of Pennsylvania, USA, Adjunct Faculty (2014 - Present)
  • Affiliated Faculty, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, Mass, Affiliated Faculty (2014 - Present)
  • Baan Saraan Home Owners Association, Chairman (2014 - Present)
  • Journal of Policy History, Reviewer (2014 - Present)
  • Journal of Urban Management (Elsevier), Member of Editiorial Board (2014 - Present)
  • Land Use Policy, Reviewer (2014 - Present)
  • Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development, Member (2014 - Present)
  • Routledge Book Reviewer, Reviewer of Book Manuscripts (2014 - Present)
  • Space / Ruang (Indonesia), Member of Editiorial Board (2014 - Present)
  • Bangkok Real Estate Agency, Speech at Conference on United States Real Estate Development (2009 - Present)
  • Central Kiwanis Club, Phoenix, Guest Speaker: Development Scenarios Thailand (2008 - Present)
  • Ruang / Space (Indonesian Planning Journal), Editorial Board (2013 - 2015)
  • Journal of Urban Management, Editorial Board (2010 - 2015)
  • Co-ordination & Curriculum Committee: Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, Member (2014 - 2015)
  • Graduate Admissions Committee: Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, Member (2014 - 2015)
  • Search Committee: Assistant / Associate Professor of Urban Planning, Member (2014 - 2015)
  • Designed overall Program and Individual Courses for Global Studies Masters Program, Person Responsible (2014 - 2015)
  • Tenure Promotion Committee: Thomas Puleo, SPGS, Member (2014 - 2014)
  • Advisory Committee, SPAGS, Member (2014 - 2014)
  • Baan Saraan Home Owners Association, Chairman (2013 - 2014)
  • Sands McCormick Home Owners Association, Scottsdale, AZ, Board Member (2013 - 2014)
  • Search Committee, SPAGS, Member (2013 - 2013)
  • Advisory Committee, SPAGS, Member (2013 - 2013)
  • Graduate Committee SPAGS, Involved Only in Global Studies Masters (2013 - 2013)
  • International Regional Science Review, Reviewer (2013 - 2013)
  • Journal of Urbanism, Reviewer (2013 - 2013)
  • Land Use Policy, Reviewer (2013 - 2013)
  • Routledge Book Reviewer, Reviewer (2013 - 2013)
  • Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development, Lead Organizer of PRCUD Forum on National Housing Policy in Thailand held in Bangkok Thailand (2013 - 2013)
  • Search Committee, Chair (2010 - 2010)
  • Executive Committee, East Asia Major, CLAS, Member Executive Committee (2010 - 2010)
  • Global Studies Consortium (Global Association of Global Studies Program), Member (2010 - 2010)
  • Global Studies Program, Head of Faculty (2010 - 2010)
  • International Development Planning Review, Referee (2010 - 2010)
  • International Regional Science Review, Referee (2010 - 2010)
  • Journal of Urban Affairs, Referee (2010 - 2010)
  • Journal of Urban Management, Editorial Board (2010 - 2010)
  • Journal of Urbanism, Referee (2010 - 2010)
  • PhD Committee, Urban Planning Program, Member (2010 - 2010)
  • Sands McCormick Home Owners Association, Board Member (2010 - 2010)
  • School of Politics and Global Studies: Planning and Leadership Committee, Member (2010 - 2010)
  • Pacific Rim Urban Development Council, Volunteer in Ho Chi Minh City: Climate Change Adaptation (2010 - 2010)
  • Global Studies Program, Head of Faculty (2009 - 2009)
  • National Housing Authority of Thailand, Pro Bono Advice (2009 - 2009)
  • Executive Committee: East Asia Major CLAS, Member of Executive Committee (2009 - 2009)
  • Geopolitics, Referee (2009 - 2009)
  • International Development Planning Review, Referee (2009 - 2009)
  • Sapiens, Referee (2009 - 2009)
  • Space, Editorial Board (2009 - 2009)
  • Urban Studies, Referee (2009 - 2009)
  • Steering Committee: Amalgamation of SGS and POS, Represent School of Global Studies (2008 - 2009)
  • Design of Applied Masters Program: School of Sustainability, Committee Member (2008 - 2009)
  • Graduate Program Committee: Global Studies, Chairperson (2008 - 2009)
  • Member, University Senate, Represent School of Global Studies (2008 - 2009)
  • Personnel Committee: University Senate, Representive of University Senate (2008 - 2009)
  • Executive Committee: Center for Asian Research, Member of Executive Committee (2007 - 2009)
  • POS/SGS School Integration Steering Committee, Member of Committee (2009 - 2009)
  • External Review: School of Public Affairs, College of Public Programs, Member of External Review Committee (2009 - 2009)
  • Urban Studies, Referee (2008 - 2008)
  • East Asia Major Design Committee, Committee Member (2008 - 2008)
  • Cities Alliance, Evaluator: Vietnam Programming (2008 - 2008)
  • Personnel Committee: Global Studies, Chairperson (2007 - 2008)
  • Reviewer: Conference Proceedings: ASU Laos Conference, Reviewer (2008 - 2008)
  • Climate Change Faculty Search Committee, Chairperson (2007 - 2008)
  • Urban Studies, Referee (2006 - 2007)
  • Masters Program Design Committee, Chairman (2005 - 2007)
  • Cities Alliance (United Nations), Referee/ Proposal Reviewer (Review Board) (2005 - 2007)
  • West Hall Relocation Sub-Committee, Co-Chair (2006 - 2007)
  • Center for Asian Research, Chair, Research Committee (2006 - 2007)
  • United States Academic Decathalon, Coach/Presenter to Arizona High School Teachers (China Theme this cycle) (2006 - 2007)
  • Search Committee: Development Economist: SGS, Chairman (2006 - 2007)
  • Personnel Committee, Chairman (2005 - 2007)
  • Workshop on Making City Development Strategies Work: National and Global Experiences, Hyderabad, Workshop Instructor and Resource Person (2006 - 2006)
  • Tenure and Promotion Committee, Chairman (2005 - 2006)
  • Projects and Collaboration Committee, Chairman (2005 - 2006)
  • Search Committee: Maximum of 3 Positions in Economics in GIOS (or Cross-Appointed), Committee Member (2005 - 2006)
  • Chengdu Municipal Government, Led half day workshop (2005 - 2005)
  • Heilongjiang Provincial Government, China, Led half day workshop for Cities Alliance (2005 - 2005)
  • Kunming, China Municipal Government, Led Workshop (2005 - 2005)
  • World Bank, Washington, DC, Evaluation of Support to Decentralization in Indonesia (2005 - 2005)