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Symposium: Who Decides in China’s Rapid Urbanization? An Interdisciplinary Inquiry into the New Chinese City

September 25, 2015 @ 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Chinese cities are growing at a rate that is unprecedented in human history. The nation scrapped a Soviet-style economy for a market-based and city-based strategy that resulted in 390 million people moving from rural areas into cities during an economic boom unlike any the world has seen. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, since the 1980s, China has built more skyscrapers, malls, hotels, highways, bridges, tunnels, houses and apartments than all other countries combined. Between 1990 and 2011, in the city of Shanghai alone, the new construction area totaled more than 24 billion square feet of floor space, the equivalent of more than 9,000 Empire State Buildings. The participants in this symposium, which will include a selected group of scholars from China, will consider the question: “Who decides?” This deceptively simply query in fact points to a range of difficult historical, cultural, social, and political issues that China faces and that are concentrated in the growth of the new Chinese city.

Sponsored by the Carolina Asia Center, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Program on Chinese Cities, and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation. This event is free and open to the public.



12:00-1:00 pm: Lunch buffet, GEC 4003

1:00-1:15 pm: Welcome and Introduction, Nelson Mandela Auditorium – Morgan Pitelka, Director, Carolina Asia Center



Mimi V. Chapman, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, UNC-CH, “Low-Income Residents in Shanghai: How they see their lives in China’s Changing Economy.”

Kate Muessig, Assistant Professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health, “‘If not for the money’: Straight men who sell sex to men in urban China.” (Read by Morgan Pitelka)

Discussion and questions



Yan Song, Professor, City and Regional Planning, UNC-CH, “How have changes in employment location affected the job access by the urban poor in Chinese cities?”

Haiying Zeng, Professor of Economics, Guizhou University, Guiyang, China, “Home-returning Entrepreneurship and Urbanization: A case study of Cengong Industrial Park of Guizhou China.”

Haozhe Zhang, Director of Design Office, Urban Planning and Design Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology. “Rash or Farsighted? Rejuvenation Strategy of Old Industry Cities of Northeast China.”

Discussion and questions


3:45-4:15 Refreshments



Robin Visser, Associate Professor and Chair, Asian Studies Department, “Urbanization Planning, Cultural Cities, and Spectacle.”

Yong Cai, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, “Decomposing and Projecting China’s Urbanization: 1982-2030.”

Yanmei Ye, Professor and Dean of the College of Urban Land Management from Zhejiang University and a visiting scholar in the Program of Chinese Cities, “Revitalizing China’s Rural Society: A Case of the Dual Division and Replacement Reform in Urban and Rural Areas.” (Read by Ke Peng)

Chun Zhang, Associate Professor and Deputy Chair, Beijing Jiaotong University, School of Architecture and Design, Beijing, China; and Joyce Man, Professor, Indiana University, School of Public Affairs, Bloomington, “Determinants of China’s urbanization.” (Presented by Skype)

Discussion and questions


6-7 PM    DINNER, GEC 4003


September 25, 2015
12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


FedEx Global Education Center, Nelson Mandela Auditorium
301 Pittsboro St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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Carolina Asia Center
View Organizer Website

The Carolina Asia Center supports diverse Asia-related events. However, CAC co-sponsorship of any talk, seminar, documentary screening, film screening, performance or celebration does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein. As an academic institution, we value diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding.

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