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.
China
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...
Village Acupuncture

Village Acupuncture

Can Architects Restore Vitality to China’s Countryside? On a bamboo-covered mountaintop the mud-walled houses of Diaotan village are just barely visible through the thick fog that often shrouds this remote hamlet in China’s Zhejiang province. Worn but sturdy earthen walls still enclose the largest structure of Diaotan, the ancestral hall, or citing. Inside, a few lanterns...
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...
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...
Fan Popo's fight against Chinese homophobia

Fan Popo’s fight against Chinese homophobia

August 12th, 2014 | Author: Andrew Stokols Photos by: courtesy of Fan Popo Fan Popo might not look like a typical activist, or a filmmaker, for that matter. He sips calmly on an O.B. beer while standing on stage in flip flops and shorts at Seoul’s Queer Film Festival, taking a photo with audience members...
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...
Hukou Reform: a Modest Start

Hukou Reform: a Modest Start

Ok, it’s here, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: China’s hukou reform. Yes, the Chinese government is finally letting go of some of the much-discussed, much-criticized, yet still very-much-in-force remnant of Socialism that still defines Chinese life: the household registration system. Well..not so fast. Yesterday, the Chinese government announced with full official fanfare complete...
From Harvard to Seoul

From Harvard to Seoul

BY ANDREW STOKOLS A renowned Harvard University professor of Chinese history ended his summer class at Kyung Hee University in an unlikely way: with an apology. “My generation has utterly failed to solve the world’s most pressing problems,” he said ominously. Then he closed on a more hopeful note: “This is unfortunate for you [younger...
LGBT film explores coming out in China

LGBT film explores coming out in China

June 19,2014 Fan Popo Coming out to one’s family is a common rite of passage for gays and lesbians around the world. But China’s queer community faces unique challenges, including a one-child policy that puts pressure on sons or daughters to provide their parents with grandkids. With the nation’s rapid development, however, social attitudes are...
My Appearance at Cities for Tomorrow New York Times

My Appearance at Cities for Tomorrow New York Times

  On April 22 I was on a panel talking about China’s “ecocities” and China’s urban development in general, for the New York Times “Cities for Tomorrow” conference.  This discussion was moderated by New York Times DotEarth blogger and journalist Andrew Revkin, and included myself along with: Professor Karen Seto of Yale; Yu Gao, China...