The histories and paths of these three cities also charts the future of emerging mega-cities in Asia, according to this piece.
"[O]ne finds the most striking evidence of how politics shapes the new Asian megalopolises in the differences between Seoul, South Korea's capital, and China's leading cities. After all, the Korean and Chinese cultures are similar. Both are founded on the hierarchical Confucian philosophy; both have been influenced by Buddhism. But Seoul is democratic, and the political debates of an open society have profoundly influenced its development. China's cities, by contrast, reflect the autocratic and corrupt rule of the Communist Party."