Drawing on the larger project of the Shehr Network on Comparative Urban Landscapes, the articles in this issue seek to revisit conceptually and theoretically the question of marginality in the production of contemporary urban cartographies in the Middle East and South Asia. In the last few years the heightened interest in urban studies has generally structured arguments around megacities. In contrast we argue that little attention has been given to other urban landscapes, small- and medium-sized towns that are situated on the margins of this discourse. Even less attention has been given to the different set of questions the study of such “marginal” cities—and marginal spaces at the edges of the megacities—may bring to our understanding of twenty-first-century urban landscapes. The essays in this collection variously gesture toward ways in which definitions of urbanity, and by implication rurality, have shifted within the context of these new urban cartographies.

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