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Mongolia Mobile App Lets Citizens Say Where Taxes Get Spent

May 27, 2020

Blog and Podcast

A mobile app lets residents of Ulaanbaatar vote for their priorities for new infrastructure projects. The latest round of voting shows that Mongolia may be a good fit for digital democracy.

Pedestrians walk around a man on scooter making turn 

New Rules Right a Wrong in the Philippines

March 18, 2020

Blog and Podcast

Shelter is a fundamental human right, but the Philippines has a shortage of affordable housing that will reach 6.8 million units by 2022. Now, a new set of rules for rent subsidies, championed by The Asia Foundation’s Coalitions for Change, promises to make decent housing affordable for poor families.


The Asia Foundation and the Asian Development Bank Host Livable Cities Forum

San Francisco, November 15, 2019


The Asian Development Bank and The Asia Foundation co-hosted the Livable Cities Forum: Digital Solutions for Livable Asian Cities in San Francisco, California. Asian cities play a crucial role as centers of innovation and entrepreneurship that propel economic growth and competitiveness in the region. At the same time, rapid urbanization is posing c… Read more


Leapfrogging and Sidestepping: Outliers Spark Municipal Reform in Myanmar

December 5, 2018

Blog and Podcast

“We don’t have to employ more traffic police; the smart machine will do the job!” proclaimed U Ye Myat Thu of the Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC) to an audience of three dozen ministers, mayors, and officials from across Myanmar crammed into a small traffic control room in Mandalay. Myanmar’s second-largest municipality has installed rem… Read more

Iromi Perera leads the current cohort of development fellows on an urban governance tour of Colombo during the 2018 Workshop on Asian Development in Sri Lanka. 

No Progress without Justice for the Urban Poor in Postwar Sri Lanka

June 6, 2018

Blog and Podcast

On a hot, sunny afternoon, a group of young development professionals follows Iromi Perera around the city of Colombo on an educational tour. Their focus is urban governance rather than tourism, and the sightseeing highlights modernity and change. Cranes and high-rise scaffolding encroach on informal settlements and small housing areas for the urba… Read more

Mongolia community mapping 

Mongolia’s Local Leaders Essential to Urban Service Delivery

September 6, 2017

Blog and Podcast

In Mongolia’s 2016 parliamentary elections, the opposition party won a landslide victory—taking 65 of the 76 seats, on a promise to boost the economy and tackle poverty. In 2011, Mongolia’s economy grew by 17 percent and attracted billions of dollars in foreign investment. Now, the country is in a state of financial crisis. For years, Mongolia’s re… Read more

Delhi street scene 

Asian Solutions to Asia’s Urban Challenges

June 14, 2017

Blog and Podcast

According to UN Habitat’s most recent World Cities Report, cities today make up more than half of the world’s population, emit 70 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, and account for 80 percent of global GDP. These figures underscore the fact that rapid urbanization is one the most critical trends shaping the world today. And nowhere wi… Read more

Ger area Mongolia 

Mongolia’s Capital Copes with Rapid Urbanization

May 31, 2017

Blog and Podcast

In the Mongolian capital city of Ulaanbaatar, urbanization has become one of the country’s most critical development issues. The days when construction cranes filled Ulaanbaatar’s skyline and buildings would appear to grow overnight are a thing of the past. Though Mongolia experienced unprecedented growth between 2011 and 2013, where GDP reached re… Read more


Airport Congestion in the Philippines Sees Improvements

May 24, 2017

Blog and Podcast

One month from now, Rodrigo Duterte will mark his first year as president of the Philippines. While other more controversial aspects of his policies have captured international headlines during his first year, including a brutal war against drugs, and yesterday’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao, the Duterte administration is continuing to fo… Read more


A Conversation with Gordon Hein on The Asia Foundation in a Changing Asia

May 24, 2017

Blog and Podcast

Asia’s rise has been dramatic, with unprecedented economic growth and investment, expanding access to information, and millions lifted out of poverty. But new obstacles are emerging in some parts of the region, alongside enduring challenges. In Asia editor Alma Freeman sat down with Gordon Hein, The Asia Foundation’s senior vice president of progra… Read more

Kelani River 

Addressing Industrial Pollution Along the Kelani River

April 26, 2017

Blog and Podcast

The lush banks and rushing waters of the Kelani River served as the indelible backdrop for the 1957 Academy Award-winning movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and today, the river remains a vital resource for about 25 percent of the Sri Lankan population who reside in its catchment area. The river is the fourth-longest and second-largest water… Read more


Can a New Law Help Timor-Leste’s Land Rights Crisis?

January 18, 2017

Blog and Podcast

Voters in Timor-Leste will head to the polls twice this year—for presidential elections in March and parliamentary elections in July—in what will be the first such elections to be held since the UN Mission departed in 2012. The next government will be faced with dwindling oil reserves and the urgent need to switch from a petroleum fund-based econom… Read more

Downtown Beijing 

Northeast Asia in Transformation: The Future of the Region and the Role of the United States

October 26, 2016

Blog and Podcast

Northeast Asia is the economic and geopolitical region comprising China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, and Russia’s far east, all of which stood at the forefront of the Cold War. Unlike other regions, which quickly recovered after the end of the Cold War, Northeast Asia was left with a series of enduring stalemates—the Korean Peninsula… Read more

Youth Civic Engagement in Bangladesh 

Six Pressing Issues in Asia and How We’re Adapting Our Approach to Address Them

September 6, 2016

Blog and Podcast

Today, 60 percent of the world’s population lives in Asia – with 40 percent concentrated in China and India alone – and the region will continue to host the majority of the world’s population through 2050. Over the past two decades, economic growth has helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, and 56 percent of developing Asia’s po… Read more

Garbage in Cambodia 

Poor Waste Management Threatens Phnom Penh

July 27, 2016

Blog and Podcast

As more rural residents move to Phnom Penh in search of work, the city’s population has nearly doubled over the last decade. Estimates suggest it could reach 2.9 million by 2025. Meanwhile, new construction projects have driven thousands of urban poor out of the city center to peri-urban areas where services are few or non-existent. Cambodia’s capi… Read more


SafetiPin: A Tool to Build Safer Cities for Women

May 11, 2016

Blog and Podcast

The gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a New Delhi bus in 2012 sparked national outrage in India. Since then, other brutal acts of violence have taken place in India’s cities, including the rape and murder of a 30-year-old law student on April 28 in Kerala. There were 337,922 reported crimes against women in 2014, among them over 36,000 were rape…. Read more


Urbanization, Smart Cities, and the “Sludge Judge” – A Conversation with Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia

June 10, 2015

Blog and Podcast

In Asia sat down recently with renowned Indian economist Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia, The Asia Foundation’s latest Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Visitor, during her American visit. Dr. Ahluwalia is chairperson of the board of governors for the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations in New Delhi, where she is leading a…


A Conversation with Dr. Rajiv Shah

April 29, 2015

Blog and Podcast

Recently retired after five years at the helm of USAID, Rajiv Shah brought new energy and improved morale, and earned bipartisan Congressional support as director of the United States’ premier development agency. Shah emphasized measurement, transparency, and outcomes in development spending, and he championed the idea that development dollars should build local institutions within developing countries.


Trends That Will Shape Asia’s Economic Future (Part 2)

February 11, 2015

Blog and Podcast

In last week’s blog, I highlighted four top trends to look out for in Asia’s economic future, including: Asia as the driver of growth, the growing tide of inequality and disparity, Asia’s trendsetters, and regional integration and regional fragmentation. Here are four more top trends to watch…


Water Scarcity a Threat to Mongolia’s Sustainable Development

September 17, 2014

Blog and Podcast

A new report from the Asian Development Bank sent a warning signal to Mongolia that, despite its wealth of natural resources and pristine image, the country faces a severe water scarcity and quality crisis – one that could leave its growing capital…


Poverty, Inequality, and the Negative Effects of Mongolia’s Economic Downturn

June 25, 2014

Blog and Podcast

For the last four years, Mongolia has had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, clocking double-digit growth on the back of a mining boom. The effects of this growth are obvious, especially in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, where cranes dominate the skyline…