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. Lecture presentations 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, followed by description and analysis of patterns of urban formation in various East Asian national settings and questions of sustainability, again particularly in the Chinese context. From then on lecture presentations about each city will be followed by several discussion sections including comparisons among groups of cities. Students, in addition to lecture class attendance, 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.