Urbanization in the East Asian Region

The purpose of this lecture course is to provide an overall account of urbanization in selected cities within the rapidly developing East Asian region from early beginnings; to characterize relevant political traditions and forms of planning administration and city management affecting urbanization there; and to depict prevalent patterns of settlement, including illustration at appropriate levels. Generally, discussion will move from a macro level, including overall city plans, to the meso scale of specific districts and the micro level of particular building configurations and types. The questions being addressed are whether there is a distinctive form of urbanization with East Asia, or whether it is largely a matter of satisfying demands within the ambit of internationally available building and infrastructural technologies? Are there common problems and opportunities accompanying urban development in the region, or is each place sufficiently different so as to defy unitary characterization? The cities in question are Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Wenzhou, and Wuhan. Presentation will also cover urban formation in national settings, like China and South Korea, as well as questions of sustainability, again particularly in the Chinese context.

Student participation will be by way of follow-up seminar discussions and two short papers: a case study and a topical presentation and discussion.