At this talk, Prof. Ren will discuss her new book Governing the Urban in China and India (Princeton University Press, 2020). Urbanization is rapidly overtaking China and India, the two most populous countries in the world. One out of six people on the planet today lives in a Chinese or Indian city. The large-scale urbanization has unleashed enormous pressures in sectors vital to daily living, such as housing, land use, and the environment. Drawing upon historical-comparative analyses and ethnographic fieldwork, the book investigates how cities in China and India are governed differently in three realms—slum clearance, land grabs, and air pollution control. It finds that urban governance in China features a territorial logic, as it is anchored on territorial actors and institutions, while that in India exhibits an associational logic, dependent on alliance building among stakeholders. Both types of governance have produced new forms of inequality and exclusion.
Xuefei Ren is a comparative urbanist whose work focuses on urban development, governance, architecture, and the built environment in global perspective. She is the author of two award-winning books: Building Globalization: Transnational Architecture Production in Urban China (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and Urban China (Polity Press, 2013). Currently she is working on a number of new comparative projects, on redevelopment of low-income neighborhoods (China, India, Brazil, and U.S), mega-events (Beijing, Tokyo, and Rio Olympics), and culture-led revitalization in post-industrial cities (Detroit, Harbin, and Turin). She is a recipient of a number of distinguished fellowships and grants, including from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Andrew Mellon Foundation, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, and American Council of Learned Societies.