The 2018 study-abroad course included visits to four cities in China. The three-credit, graduate-level course—Planning for China’s Urban Billion—was offered spring semester by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
The course covered a wide range of urban planning and international development topics, ranging from affordable housing provision to historic preservation to rural development to transportation demand management. It was led by GTI director Yingling Fan.
“If current urbanization trends continue, China will have an urban population of one billion by 2030,” Fan says. “How Chinese cities can minimize pressures and maximize opportunities of urban expansion is a critical question that affects every aspect of urban planning.”
The two-week course familiarized students with urban planning practices and emerging development issues in four unique Chinese cities: Beijing, Xi’an, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. “By integrating guest lectures, site visits, and cross-cultural classroom activities, the course created immersive learning experiences that connected students to foreign cultures, alternative ways of life, and exciting urban landscapes,” Fan says.
Of the 11 students, 4 were graduate students from the Humphrey School and the College of Design. Seven were undergrads from the Carlson School of Management, the civil engineering department, and the urban studies department.
Site visits included the first and largest dockless bikesharing company in the world and the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design. Lectures touched on topics such as transit-oriented urban redevelopment, sustainable urbanism, and pedestrian comfort in dense cities.