Professional Schools

Mi SHIH

Research Interests: urban planning in China in the post-reform era

 Mi SHIH

Mi Shih is an assistant professor at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Professor Shih’s research focuses on the intersection of urbanization, displacement, and community-based planning in China. She uses in-depth ethnographic fieldwork research methods to examine how urban projects shape ordinary people’s livelihoods, power relations with the state, and communities in China. Her recent fieldwork in peri-urban Guangzhou especially focuses on the history and spatiality of the city’s very distinctive landscape, locally called “quanyajiaocuo” (犬牙交错, roughly equivalent to “interlocking” in English). This local idiom describes the coexistence of a highly urbanized, modernized landscape on state-owned (urban) land and a highly fragmented, vernacular landscape on collective-owned (village) land. Her current projects examine several important questions about Guangzhou’s peri-urban transformation: 1) the process of land expropriation that has given rise to the landscape of “quanyajiaocuo” in Guangzhou, 2) how we might critically reconceptualize displacement as a phenomenon that need not be bracketed by the narrow spatial understanding of ‘‘physical uprootedness,’’ but a process of in situ marginalization and dispossession, 3) the impact of rapid urbanization on villagers’ traditional customs, social relationships, and their imagery of the urban life they desire.

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