East Asian countries achieved rapid economic growth during the 1970s and 1980s. However, on the flipside of this growth, compressed urbanization or developmental urbanization has produced negative effects (e.g., radioactive emissions, water contamination, dust pollution, and rising sea levels). As the social-ecological crisis of climate change/urbanization has reached the planetary level, the concept of the “sustainable city” is being actively discussed in international policy discourse, especially in international institutions. To break with the geographical-historical processes in which East Asian cities have become “risk cities,” we work to uncover the processes, as well as seek theoretical and practical grounds, for creating sustainable cities.
Research Themes and Cases
How the state/city/society relates to nature remains underexplored in the existing perspectives about the crisis East Asian cities are facing. The Sustainable Transition Cities team aims to propose alternatives, through using the “politico-ecological urbanization” approach, by which we view urbanization not only as a social transformation but also as a socionatural process. Our investigation focuses on the following comparative studies in East Asian cities.
East Asian Urbanization and Dam Construction: Korea (Soyang Dam, Four Major Rivers Project), China (Sanxia Dam, South-North Water Transfer Project)
East Asian Urbanization and Landfills, Land Reclamation: China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, Caofeidian International City, Tokyo Bay Land Reclamation Area, Songdo Ubiquitous Eco-city of Incheon
Practices to Make East Asian Transition Cities: Korea (“One Less Nuclear Power Plant” Policy of Seoul, Solar City Policy of Gwangju and Daegu), Japan (Transition Village Project)