Prof. Nick R. Smith currently teaches in the Urban Studies program at Yale-NUS College. His teaching emphasizes participation, collaboration, diversity, and reflexivity.
Smith teaches the following courses in the Urban Studies curriculum:
Urbanization in China investigates the dramatic urban transformation that has taken place in mainland China over the last four decades. The course considers the historical context of Chinese urbanization, China's contemporary urban-rural divide, and the lived experience of urbanization in China.
Urban Theory is the core urban theory course required for all Urban Studies majors. Through a "great books" format, the course introduces students to key methodological and theoretical lenses for understanding urban processes.
Living on the Edge: The Experience of Peri-Urbanization explores the rapid socio-spatial transformation that occurs at the edges of cities and between urban and rural in various geographic contexts around the world. The course investigates this phenomenon through the eyes of people who inhabit these areas, examining their experiences of precariousness, hybridity, exclusion, marginalization, and inequity.
Key Debates in Urban Planning and Policy investigates normative issues central to the discipline of urban planning and their application to specific case studies within Singapore.
Community Development: In Search of the Kampung Spirit combines a reading seminar on communities and community development practices with a studio/practicum based in a local community. The course explores the hypothesis that community development in Southeast Asia constitutes a process of urban villagization.
Urban Studio is the Capstone module for seniors in the Urban Studies major. The course provides a collaborative environment combining aspects of a writing workshop from the social sciences with studio pedagogy from the design disciplines.
Smith also teaches Modern Social Thought in the Common Curriculum, as well as short studio courses in the Learning Across Boundaries program. These courses combine ethnographic fieldwork with intensive charrette exercises that ask students propose solutions to real-world problems. Huizhou: History, Agriculture, and the Future of China’s Villages visited the historically rich region of Huizhou in China's Anhui Province, challenging students to propose new strategies for sustainable village development. American Pastoral: Open Space in the Modern Metropolis took students to Boston to explore the city as a network of open spaces, asking them to apply what they learned in Boston to reimagine the Yale-NUS campus. Place-making LAB: Neighborhood Change and Community Development in San Francisco investigated the intersection of place, identity, and community in the diverse neighborhoods of the Bay Area.