The past two decades have seen an epochal shift in China’s urban-rural relations, with new state-led development programs aiming for the near-total urbanization of the nation’s territory and population. These policies promise to rewrite China’s social contract, uprooting existing welfare institutions that are embedded in the spatial fabric of China’s villages. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Chongqing, one of the earliest and largest experimental areas for these urban development policies, Smith explores the implications of this new wave of urban transformation for China’s villagers. Through the redevelopment of an experimental village on the outskirts of Chongqing, municipal and village actors compete to advance their own programs of urbanization rooted in divergent visions for the just ordering of Chinese society.
Nick R. Smith is an interdisciplinary scholar of urban transformation, planning, and policy. His research explores urbanization and planning as processes of institution building, with a particular focus on experimental practices of urban development in China and Southeast Asia. Smith is currently an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at Yale-NUS College and a Research Associate in the Asian Urbanisms Cluster at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute.
Be sure to join us for the first talk in the series on February 20. More here.