Geography alum Jesse Rodenbiker (PhD 2019) was awarded 2020 Student Paper Award at Geoforum, for his paper "Uneven incorporation: Volumetric transitions in peri-urban China's conservation zones"
Uneven incorporation: Volumetric transitions in peri-urban China's conservation zones
A central feature of China's “green” development plan has been the creation of conservation zones across the peri-urban fringes of major cities. In these conservation zones, rural land and housing are being unevenly incorporated into urban space, leading to a diverse set of experiences for dislocated villagers. In this paper, I develop a volumetric approach to analyze the spatial politics of agricultural and urban transitions in China's conservation zones. I advance theories of vertical and volumetric space, which consider relations across heights, depths, and surfaces, through attention to the temporalities and everyday experiences of volumes. My volumetric approach provides a foundation for delineating how the uneven valuation and compensation of rural land and housing shapes social differentiation, as well as how villagers navigate and experience rural-urban transitions. Furthermore, I argue that a volumetric account of three-dimensional space exposes the interconnections between agrarian and urban questions, which are usually considered discretely. The central contribution of this paper, therefore, is to reorient the agrarian and urban questions in relation to one another across horizontal, vertical, and temporal axes.