Urbanization in the East Asian Region

The purpose of this lecture course is to provide an overall account of the urbanization in selected cities within the rapidly developing East Asian region; to characterize relevant political traditions and forms of planning administration affecting urbanization there; and to depict prevalent patterns of urbanization, including illustration at appropriate levels, such as district, block, and building type. The questions being addressed are whether there is a distinctive form to urbanization within the Pacific Asian region, or whether it is largely a matter of satisfying demands for rapid urban expansion within the ambit of internationally available building technology? Are there common problems and opportunities accompanying urbanization within the Pacific Asian region, or is each place sufficiently different so as to defy unitary characterization? The cities in question are Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Wenzhou, Wuhan, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, and Seoul. The course will begin with a summary account of traditional manners of city making as well as later western influences, including those from the Soviet Union, in the case of China. The format will be lectures about each city, in turn, followed by several discussion sections including comparisons among selected cities. Given China’s current prominence in the region, the course will conclude with a summary account of urban formation there and an analysis of its likely sustainability. Students will be required to write two papers: one about a particular project or plan, and the other about a particular issue of concern or interest.