A headshot of Architecture Professor Nick R. Smith


On May 18, 2022, assistant professor of architecture and urban studies Nick R. Smith’s book The End of the Village: Planning the Urbanization of Rural China was reviewed by independent scholar Yixian Li on H-Net, the Humanities & Social Sciences Online initiative. Through in-depth discussion of the book’s narratives and case studies, Li reflects on the strengths of Smith’s book, focusing on how adeptly the relationship between political initiatives and rural transformation is dissected. 
Li’s review notes how Smith’s integration of interviews, ethnography, and spatial analysis succeeded in reaching the actual individuals living through China's rural development crisis. Smith’s close examination of the local actors also reveals the motives behind their implementation of urban-rural coordination, a new policy program that has made villages more dependent on state-led urbanization.The book offers a novel theoretical framework analyzing the disjuncture between China’s administrative categories and the lived experience of urbanization, and it proposes a new approach to research on urbanization more broadly.