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Fri, 05 Apr


MB167, 1/F Main Building

Rethinking Rural-Urban Integration in the Context of Planetary Sustainability - Part II

Speakers: Prof. Darren Smith & Prof. Michael Woods Registration:

Rethinking Rural-Urban Integration in the Context of Planetary Sustainability - Part II
Rethinking Rural-Urban Integration in the Context of Planetary Sustainability - Part II

Time & Location

05 Apr 2024, 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm HKT

MB167, 1/F Main Building, The University of Hong Kong

About the event

Event Review

Topic 1: Changing urban and rural systems in Britain: the ‘fortifications’ of gentrification?

Abstract: Using the case study of Nottingham in the East Midlands, the presentation will explore contemporary urban and rural changes in the city and its rural environs. The discussion will disentangle cross-cutting processes of regeneration, gentrification, studentification, and suburbanisation, to show how patterns of segregation and socio-economic are being reconfigured across the locality. It is argued that the strong institutional commitment and impetus for new house building in the city is reshaping both urban and rural landscapes in profound ways, and may be giving rise to new urban and rural systems which are more exclusive and conflictual. It is contended that more open planning regimes are influential in these processes of change, alongside ever more saturated competition between social groups and actors for prized spaces and housing in Nottingham. The discussion considers the wider salience of the specific findings from Nottingham in comparison to other large metropolitan contexts in the UK.

About the Speaker: Darren’s geographical research is positioned at the interfaces between Population Studies, Urban Studies, Rural Studies, and Migration Studies. For the last four decades, his work has investigated the growing links of changing places and social conflicts between different social groups and institutions, fuelling the rise of more exclusive, segregated, and transient societies. He coined the term studentification to conceptualise processes of change within university towns and cities, and opposition to the growth of student populations and the expansion of higher education. To date, he has researched studentification in UK, Ireland, North America, Australia and China. In the rural context, Darren's work has examined processes of rural gentrification and migration. He is Chair of the Population Commission of the IGU and Chair of the Organising Committee of the International Conference on Population Geographies. He is an elected Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences.

Topic 2: Assembling Place in the Global Countryside: A Case Study of Tengtou, Zhejiang Province, China

Abstract: This talk elaborates an 'assemblage' framework for studying how places are remade in the context of globalization. Drawing on the 'assemblage thinking' of Deleuze and Guattari and Manuel DeLanda, it describes how places can be understood as assemblages of human and non-human, material and expressive components, coded with meanings and held together in temporary, contingent arrangements defined by external relations. As argued in a recent paper in Transactions of the IBG, this framework allows globalisation to be analysed as interaction between place-assemblages and translocal assemblages, involving the addition, removal and recoding of components and the reterritorialisation of places. The indeterminacy of assemblage means that the outcomes of globalization are not pre-determined, but that there are multiple possible futures that are negotiated by local and translocal actors. The framework will be illustrated through a case study of Tengtou, a village in the rural fringe of Fenghau, Zhejiang Province, China, which has been reterritorialised and recoded through engagement with global assemblages around clothing manufacturing, tourism, and sustainable development, but where local actors have exerted agency to attempt to maintain the coherence of the village and its 'rural' identity.

About the Speaker: Michael Woods is Professor of Human Geography at Aberystwyth University, UK, Director of the Rural Wales Local Policy and Innovation Partnership, and Co-Director of the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD). His research has examined rural change in contexts around the world, including in the UK, Europe, China, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and North America, most notably in the ERC Advanced Grant GLOBAL-RURAL on globalization and the ‘global countryside’. His current research includes ERC/UKRI Advanced Grant Rural-Spatial-Justice on rural discontent and disruptive politics in Europe and the USA. He is author of the textbooks Rural Geography (Sage, 2004) and Rural (Routledge, 2011) and former editor of the Journal of Rural Studies.

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