The May 2017 study-abroad course included visits to five cities in the Yangtze and Pearl River Delta regions in China. The course—PA 5880: High-Density Urban and Regional Development in China—was offered by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Led by GTI director Yingling Fan, University of Minnesota coordinators took 16 students to Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong for the intensive two-week course.
Through lectures and site visits, the course explored how Chinese cities are working to satisfy the mobility and accessibility needs of the largest urban population in the world. Students explored every aspect of urban planning, from affordable housing provisions to parking management.
In one course assignment, U of M students were paired with 16 students from Southeast University in Nanjing. Each student group (made up of two American students and two Chinese students) was assigned to a place in the city to explore globalization and rapid urbanization. Other activities included lectures from prominent Chinese transportation and urban planning scholars; visits to universities, transport agencies, and transit facilities; and high-speed rail trips between cities.
Trip coordinators included Sherry Gray, director of the Humphrey School’s International Fellows and Scholars Program, and Dawn Spanhake, associate director for development and finance at the Center for Transportation Studies.
Several of the students shared their personal observations and reflections on the course in a series of guest posts on the GTI blog:
- Street design and bike sharing: A student’s reflection on visiting Nanjing
- Public participation, poetry, and planning: A student’s reflection on visiting Suzhou
- Mixing modern and historical: A student’s reflection on visiting Shanghai
- Public awareness: living in complexity—A reflection on travel to China