The population of China has been rapidly urbanizing, posing practical challenges for urban planners and policymakers and profound challenges to personal and community identities. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is hosting an event that explores the nexus of these issues titled “Impressions: from an Artist and a Scholar.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 6 p.m., Yan Song, director of the UNC Program on Chinese Cities, will deliver a lecture titled “Urbanization in China: Critical Issues in an Era of Rapid Growth” in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium of the FedEx Global Education Center. Song’s lecture will be followed by a presentation from artist Barbara Tyroler, whose work is featured in the art exhibition “Beijing Impressions: Portraits of a Shifting Landscape” which runs through Sept. 14. After the lectures, guests are invited to a reception and art viewing in the Peacock Atrium.
Urbanization in China
In 1978, China’s level of urbanization was 18 percent. It rose to 30 percent in 1995 and by 2010 had reached 45 percent. Few other countries are urbanizing at such a high rate. But that level of growth has created unique challenges for city planners. In her lecture, Song will discuss challenges raised by projects such as new residential and business high-rise buildings, large industrial parks, urban infrastructure projects, and urban renewal developments. Urbanization brings to light issues on planning around the management of space, land policy reform, rural-urban migration, and public finance systems.
Song, associate professor with the Department of City and Regional Planning, focuses her current research on domestic and international issues raised by urbanization and urban growth, land and housing markets, the effects of growth management regulations, and the integration of urban land use and transportation plans. She directs the Program on Chinese Cities, a new initiative within the department and the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at UNC.
Song has served as a consultant on urban planning for the city government of Shenzhen, and a consultant on land use and transportation integration for Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning and Design in China. She has been instrumental in the development of an urban planning consortium that brings together researchers from the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies and the Department of City and Regional Planning in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and from the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences and the School of Urban Planning and Design at Peking University.
About the Artist
Song’s lecture will be followed by a presentation from Barbara Tyroler, a practicing artist, college-level educator, and photographer whose works are exhibited at the FedEx Global Education Center. The “Beijing Impressions: Portraits of a Shifting Landscape” exhibition includes works inspired by her daughter Samm Tyroler-Cooper’s poetic interpretation of Chinese writer Lin Bai’s personal memoirs.
The images are large, blended photographs. The figurative landscapes serve to reflect a people and city in cultural transformation, synthesizing the ancient with the contemporary, the literal with the metaphoric. The images are drawn from a nine-day visit to Beijing. Ten new images were produced specifically for this show.
The exhibit has been featured in hospitals, universities and art galleries in Washington, D.C. and the North Carolina Triangle. Tyroler commissioned textile artist Peg Gignoux to collaborate on a site-specific silk installation using a composite from the diptych Night Travelers, Critical Whispers.