During Al’s overview of his recently published book, Villages in the City: A Guide to South China’s Informal Settlements”, he explained the impetus for such a focused topic. Al lived in South China for four years and during his time abroad he organized a team of researchers to document the value and challenges of informal settlements in the countries fastest growing cities. The informal settlements, called “villages”, are easily identifiable in satellite images due to their non-linear streets and low density buildings compared to the block style apartment buildings synonymous with modern city planning in China. As China’s urban centers explode in size and population, the informal settlements offer affordable and well-located entry points for migrants into the city. Al went on to explain how these villages are disappearing in South China and are being replaced with large housing complexes that are not affordable, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use, or accessible for those new to the city.