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.
Urban Design
Suburbia Goes Global: What It Means for Urban Sustainability

Suburbia Goes Global: What It Means for Urban Sustainability

  Red tile roofs, a backyard barbecue, a clubhouse in the style of a French chateau. Welcome to Orange County. No, not Orange County, California, the famed suburban region known for its beaches and McMansions. This is Orange County, Beijing. The resemblance to an American suburb is uncanny. Of course, the water peddler pulling a tricycle...
How China Can Leverage High-Speed Rail for Compact Urban Development

How China Can Leverage High-Speed Rail for Compact Urban Development

High speed rail connects Zhengzhou with other Chinese cities and has potential to spur compact urban development across the country. Photo by Andrew Stokols. Many large Chinese cities have developed around transport corridors. Hangzhou and Suzhou, for example, grew wealthy from their position on the Grand Canal, which connected northern and southern China. Today, the country’s...
China’s ‘dancing grannies’ vow to dance on

China’s ‘dancing grannies’ vow to dance on

  Walk through any public square or park in most Chinese cities and you’re likely to see—and probably hear—a colorful group of elderly residents dancing and singing to their favorite classical Chinese songs. The dancing grannies, as they are known, have become a permanent fixture of Chinese urban life. But they have also aroused the anger...
Saving China's dying villages

Saving China’s dying villages

China’s economic future may lie in urban-driven consumption, but that doesn’t mean its villages are unimportant. This year, the country’s powerful NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission) unveiled its new urbanization plan, calling for China to become 60% urban by 2020. But, with China’s huge urban population, that means nearly 600 million residents will remain...
Songdo style: How wise is Korea’s ‘smart city’?

Songdo style: How wise is Korea’s ‘smart city’?

“Songdo’s model may not be the panacea for all the world’s urban ills, but it remains a work in progress” Aug 26,2014   Left: Songdo’s new office towers and residential units rise behind Central Park, a green centerpiece of the 1,500-acre new city modeled after New York’s famous urban park. Above: Children admire deer in...
Exploring Korea's "Smart City"

Exploring Korea’s “Smart City”

After living in China, I thought I had become inured to the massive scale of urban development, glossy investment ads promoting developing zones and other schemes, and the general fever for anything modern, glassy, and futuristic. But Korea is home to an urban development scheme that outdoes even China in ambition and scope: the Songdo...
Exploring Seoul's Urban Form

Exploring Seoul’s Urban Form

Looking at a city’s urban form, or its general layout of physical features (streets, block sizes, buildings), can tell us a lot about a city: how it developed, how walkable it is, what era it dates from. In his book Great Streets, UC Berkeley urban design professor and former SF Director of City Planning  Allan...