A headshot of Architecture Professor Nick R. Smith

On June 8, 2021, Nick R. Smith, assistant professor of architecture and urban studies, published a new book titled The End of the Village: Planning the Urbanization of Rural China, which analyzes the radical expansion of urbanization and its consequences for villagers in rural areas of China. 

By offering an original look at the country’s contentious shift in urban planning and policy, Smith exposes the precarious future of rural life in China, suggesting a critical reappraisal of how we think about urbanization. He delves deeply into Shekou, one of the first industrial zones to be established during China’s post-1978 reform era, and traces these experimental practices through an international network of planning and policy exchanges across the Sinosphere. The work sheds new light on China's early reform era — during which marketization, urbanization, and democratization were all tightly intertwined.

Smith teaches courses in the Architecture Department and the Urban Studies Program, including Urban Elsewheres, Urbanizing China, and Key Debates in Urban Planning and Policy. Before joining Barnard, he was a founding member of the Urban Studies faculty at Yale-NUS College in Singapore and served as secretary of the International Association for China Planning in 2011 and 2012. He is a member of the advisory board of the Urban China Research Network.