Nick Smith Virtual Lecture: "The End of the Village: Planning the Urbanization of Rural China”


Location: Zoom

Nick Smith


Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, China has dramatically expanded its urbanization processes in an effort to reduce the inequalities between urban and rural areas. New development programs, including “urban-rural coordination”, “new-type urbanization”, and, most recently, “rural revitalization”, are fundamentally rewriting the nation’s social contract, as villages that once organized rural life and guaranteed rural livelihoods are replaced by an increasingly urbanized landscape dominated by state institutions. Rural simulacra, such as high-rise new towns, ecological protection zones, historical tourism sites, and industrialized farms, reflect planners' and policy-makers' urban imaginations of what the rural should be and have more to do with serving urban consumers than ensuring rural welfare. Drawing on his recently published book, which explores the experimental implementation of these programs in the municipality of Chongqing, Smith will discuss this ongoing push for the near-total urbanization of China's territory and population, as well as the implications these policies have for rural people facing an increasingly precarious urban future.


Nick R. Smith is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urban Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. His research examines experimental practices of urbanization and planning, with a regional focus on China and Southeast Asia. Smith is the author of The End of the Village: Planning the Urbanization of Rural China. He is currently at work on a history of the Shekou Industrial Zone and the origins of China’s rapid urbanization.

This lecture is part of Professor Kyle Jaros' course Political Economy of East Asian Development. 

Open to the public with advance Zoom registration: