Urbanization in the East Asian Region

This course provides an account of urbanization in the East Asian Region by way of a detailed examination of the historical development of selected cities, as well as by way of discussion of consequences of broader urban formations and sustainability, especially in China. More specifically, the aim will be to depict prevalent patterns of urbanization at appropriate levels; to characterize relevant political traditions that bear on forms of planning and urban administration; and to reveal pertinent underlying social, economic, cultural and environmental circumstances at work. The selected cities are Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo and the three mid-sized Chinese cities of Suzhou, Wenzhou and Wuhan. While each is certainly distinctive, they do all share common characteristics. For instance, many have had colonial influences in the past; each has grown recently, or is in the process of expanding and modernizing rapidly, as well as going through \”boom and bust\” cycles. There are also differences. For example, governmental attitudes towards social and environmental costs have varied from place to place and from time to time, as have external and internal influences on urbanization and urban-architectural expression. Also, developments in some cities under examination have influenced other cities in the region. A broad question being addressed is whether there are distinctive forms to urbanization within East Asia, or whether it is largely a matter of satisfying demands for urban expansion within the ambit of relatively standard models of modernization and internationally available technologies. The class will meet between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm on Monday afternoons and will follow a lecture format with no limit on class size, although attendance is required. Student assignments will include two essays, each of around ten pages in length.