Ecogram IV

CHINA – Supercities and Mega-Migrations: China’s Urban Futures

November 11, 2011 • 10:00AM – 6:00PM

Columbia University, Avery Hall, Wood Auditorium

“Ecogram IV: CHINA – Supercities and Mega-Migrations: China’s Urban Futures” is the third annual conference on the changing landscape of urban spaces, curated by Professor Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Member of the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University.

By 2025, China is expected to have 15 super-cities with an average population of 25 million. Europe will have none. This conference assembled scholars and practitioners from a variety of fields to develop a fuller, interdisciplinary view of the migration flows and rapidly transforming spaces that are revolutionizing China. Panels topics included Migrations: Post-Economic Crisis Patterns and Potentials; Super-Cities: Green and Smart?; “The Super City” and the “Right to a Slum”; and Architecture + Environment.

“The annual influx of rural migrants to China’s cities increased from 9 million in 1989, to nearly 30 million a decade later… there were some 25 million migrant workers in China’s cities in the mid-1980s, and about 70 million 10 years later. By 2003, the floating population was double this figure and it remains in the neighborhood of 140 million people-fully 10% of China’s total population.” 

-Thomas Campanella, The Concrete Dragon. China’s Urban Revolution and What it Means for the World, 2008

This conference was part of the Signature Research Project Urbanizing Technology: The Mobility Complex.


Migrations: Post-Economic Crisis Patterns and Potentials

  • Chair: Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, and member of the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University
  • Thomas Buettner, Assistant Director, Chief, Population Studies Branch, UN Population Division/DESA
  • Sabine Henning, Population Affairs Officer, UN Population Division/DESA
  • Yao Lu, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
  • Ming Yan, Professor, Institute of Sociology and Center for Social Policy Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Super-Cities: Green and Smart?

  • Chair: Vishaan Chakrabarti, Marc Holliday Associate Professor of Real Estate Development and Chair of Real Estate Development Program, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University
  • Xuefei Ren, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Global Urban Studies; Michigan State University; Woodrow Wilson International Center Fellow (2011-2012)
  • Parag Khanna, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation, and Ayesha Khanna, Director, Hybrid Reality Institute
  • Shohei Shigematsu, Partner, Director of OMA New York

"The Super City" and the "Right to a Slum"

  • Chair: Saskia Sassen
  • Gracia Liu-Farrer, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University
  • Ling Huang, Associate Professor, Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Architecture & Urban Planning, Chongqing University
  • Adam Greenfield, Managing Director, Urbanscale
  • Craig Hartman, Partner, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP

Architecture + Environment

  • Chair: Ioanna Theocharopoulou, Assistant Professor, School of Constructed Environments, Parsons the New School for Design
  • Jiang Xu, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Xiangming Chen, Director of the Center for Urban and Global Studies and Raether Professor of Sociology and International Studies, Trinity College
  • Chang Liu, Student Researcher, Center for Urban and Global Studies, Trinity College
  • Ackbar Abbas, Professor, Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, UC Irvine
  • Douglas Wyatt Hocking, Principal, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC

Concluding Words: Saskia Sassen

  • Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University