Andrew Stokols writes on global urbanization and international development with a focus on China and Asia. In China, he has worked as a Princeton-in-Asia Fellow at a rural development NGO and was a Fulbright Scholar studying urbanization in western China. His work has been featured in The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Foreign Policy. He is currently a Masters in Urban Planning candidate at Harvard GSD.
Politics
The First “Urban Pope”

The First “Urban Pope”

A Brazilian slum, or favela, and a cross. Pope Francis’s Encyclical addresses urban poverty and inequality as well as climate change. Photo by Chico Ferreira/Flickr Pope Francis is proving to be the first “environmentalist pope.” It turns out he also may be the first urbanist pope–not counting the aptly named Pope Urban of the 3rd Century....
America just doesn't get airport rail

America just doesn’t get airport rail

Observing his experience at LaGuardia Airport, Donald Trump bemoaned that it’s like “a third world airport“. Now, putting aside the absurdity of  an avowed conservative who detests government projects in general complaining about the state of America’s infrastructure, he has a point. America’s airports and infrastructure are in terrible shape compared to the rest of...
Uber and the City

Uber and the City

 As Uber gains more control over transportation in cities, it will also inevitably gain more interests in the decisions cities make that affect public transportation It’s been a rough week for Uber. After a woman was reportedly raped by an Uber cab driver in New Delhi, India has advised all states to ban such web-based...
China's red turn?

China’s red turn?

China’s call for artists to visit the countryside should be viewed in light of recent political upheaval, not the Cultural Revolution.   On a recent trip to rural Zhejiang to look at historic village preservation efforts , I found myself staying in an interesting hotel, evocatively named the 知青公社 or “Intellectual Youth Commune” in Songyang...
Hukou Reform and China's "City States"

Hukou Reform and China’s “City States”

Following my recent posts on China’s recently announced “reforms” to the hukou, or household registration system, I think its necessary to look at it in the context of urban population in China, a topic I’ve written about before here. According to the news conference held last week, China will loosen restrictions on rural residents obtaining legal...
We don't need 6 Californias, we need better regions

We don’t need 6 Californias, we need better regions

With reports that a tech entrepreneur’s ballot initiative to split California into 6 separate states has gained enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, we need to set the parameters of what exactly is at stake. And, as a proud Californian, I feel particularly compelled to speak out against this plan. I know, it may...
The Other "Square People"

The Other “Square People”

Thailand’s military declares a coup for the second time in 8 years, India elects a prime minister who has called himself a Hindu nationalist and looked the other way as over 1000 Muslims were slaughtered in his city, Japan’s Shinzo Abe begins an effort to ‘reinterpret’ the country’s pacifist constitution to allow for a broader...
Zizek in Korea?

Zizek in Korea?

South Korea is perhaps an unlikely destination for one of the world’s foremost leftist intellectuals, Slavoj Zizek.  This is a man who gives lectures in ratty white t-shirts and baggy pants, who routinely mixes dense critical theory with obscene bathroom jokes, and who has been criticized for provocative comments such as “Hitler was not violent...
This Chart Explains Nothing!

This Chart Explains Nothing!

For a country long thought to be geographically-challenged, maps are suddenly all the rage.  Every day a new map seems to be taking the Internets by storm, purporting to show everything from the most popular brands in each state to countries most open to foreigners. Epitomized by bloggers like Ezra Klein and Max Fisher of The...
Gentrification: An Inconvenient Truth

Gentrification: An Inconvenient Truth

Gentrification.  The word is so often on the tongues of New York’s young professional residents as to render it meaningless.  As I moved to the city after two years in China, I prepared myself for the skyrocketing rents and surge of young people into previously seedy areas of Brooklyn along the L Line. Searching for...
China's Urbanization "Fetish"

China’s Urbanization “Fetish”

“Rejection” of recent Urbanization Plan reveals uncertainties over land reform, local government investment, and the type of cities that China will build. Urbanization has been a component of China’s economic planning for a long time, ever since economic reforms in 1979 initiated an export-led manufacturing boom and peasants began moving to cities en masse.  Recent...
Anti-Japan Protests in Xi'an: Government Cracks Down

Anti-Japan Protests in Xi’an: Government Cracks Down

XI’AN – Protests against Japan’s recent efforts to buy the disputed Diaoyu islands spread to cities across China Saturday, and in some places turned violent.   Here in Xi’an, protesters marched to the city’s central intersection at the bell tower, and by the afternoon, a large crowd had begun to amass in front of the Bell...