This year, the International Development Conference will highlight the theoretical development studies and policy research that play a predominant role in shaping development projects. When concrete, tangible policies and projects are implemented, theory and practice often fail to coincide. Development solutions and initiatives, as well as daily livelihood decisions, executed by an array of actors - from large development players to individual households - affect the lives of citizens and underdeveloped areas throughout the world. As such, critical reflections on ongoing development efforts, common consumption decisions and ingrained aspects of the world economy highlight that, while considerable victories have been attained to achieve a more just, prosperous and equitable world, attempts at reforms and aids are not without their drawbacks. 

The controversy surrounding the involvement of religious aid organizations may politicize and undermine efforts to eliminate poverty and obtain relief. Attempts to regulate small scale gold mining, while environmentally necessary, may fail to address the dilemma of gold demand in shaping the persistence of artisans gold mining. Efforts to democratize and increase the transparency of the international trade regime may succeed in incorporating sustainability as a core principal of global commerce, but tedious institutional reform may not reflect the urgency of climate change. Alongside the IDC 2017’s thematic discussions, which will explore these and more concrete development efforts through a critical lens, the conference will also host a selection of Canadian NGOs, businesses, and student researchers to showcase the diversity and innovation of new ideas and efforts shaping the development sectors today. 




Guo is an Associate Professor of Geography and Global Urban Studies at MSU. She is a recipient of the MSU-ISS Teaching Award in 2010. She has published over thirty articles, book chapters, and an edited book. Guo’s research activities focus on the dynamics, spatial manifestations, and social and environmental consequences of the urban transformations in China and other emerging countries. In particular, her work explores four broad themes: 1) measuring, mapping, and representing the changing landscape of urban poverty and deprivation; 2) identifying the drivers of changing inequalities within and across cities as well as between social groups; 3) evaluating policy responses in housing for the poor and welfare; and 4) theorizing the nexus of urbanization, inequality, and justice in emerging urban contexts. Trained as an urban and economic geographer, planner, and spatial analyst, she employs a mixed methodology involving quantitative and qualitative approaches that include intensive field work, household surveys and interviews, and spatial and statistical analyses of a combination of census, socioeconomic statistics, survey data, remote sensing and land-use data, and visual materials to gain integrated insights into the socio-spatial, economic, and environmental dimensions of rapid urban changes.

My Speakers Sessions

Sunday, February 12