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Chris Smith

University of Albany, SUNY

Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University at Albany, SUNY. Professor Smith is an urban geographer whose research and teaching interests were originally in the area of urban social problems, including health and health care delivery, homelessness, and mental illness.  Within the last two decades some of his research focus shifted to East Asia, especially China, and his recent work has been concerned with the social and cultural consequences of China’s transition away from socialism and its increasing prominence in the global economy. Smith was one of the pioneers of the University at Albany’s Urban China Research Network (UCRN). With his Albany colleagues, Smith received funding for the Network from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for an initial three years, in 1999; followed by additional funding support through to 2012.  UCRN is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional project, effectively establishing a ‘virtual center’ to conduct and support research and training activities focussing on the causes and consequences of rapid urbanization in contemporary China.  All activities were coordinated from Albany, but the Advisory Board for the network included scholars based in North America, Europe and China.  By design, the Board members represented a broad range of disciplines, including sociologists, demographers, geographers, urban planners, political scientists, historians, anthropologists, and economists.

Professor Smith received a BSc (in Economics) degree from the London School of Economics; an MPhil (in City and Regional Planning) at the Architectural Association School of Planning and Urban Design; and his MA and PhD degrees (in Geography) from the University of Michigan. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Hong Kong University, where he is teaching, advising and doing research in the Masters in China Development Studies program. He has taught courses in urban planning, urban and cultural geography, globalization-related issues in various countries, including the United Kingdom (Scotland), New Zealand, and China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan). He has sailed and taught on two full Semester at Sea voyages, in 1997 and 2011: on the 2011 voyage he taught the Global Studies course required for all students on the voyage. He also travelled as a passenger on a short SAS voyage through the Panama Canal in 2013-2014.