As we all know, in the past decades, China has undergone an unprecedented urbanization process and a rapid economic growth. At the same time, the ecology and environment have also been seriously destructed. Air quality is degraded and is threatening the public health; water pollution, water shortage and related disasters all together had made the overall situation more difficult to handle. Besides, various kinds of solid waste have increased dramatically and are not eco-efficiently treated.
Consequently, the well-being of Chinese people, especially those in urban areas, is seriously affected. These wide-spreading problems all over China have become major threats for further development and the realization of the “Chinese dream”, which according to the environmental NGO JUCCCE is about sustainable development.
Due to these reasons, recently, the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (CESE) in Peking University (PKU) hosted the “Beijing-Copenhagen Urban Challenge Program” (BCUC) & “National Graduate Summer School” (NGSS) Sustainable Urbanization Course Program. The program counted on the participation of the Faculties from Guanghua School of Management (GSM) at PKU and guest teachers from Taiwan.
Drafting a new Chinese urbanization model
During this training course, besides specific topics, principles for urban sustainability and practical and eco-efficient technologies for water resource management were delivered. Also water treatment, air pollution control and solid waste management were addressed with different case studies of worldwide cities and particularly the Chinese ones.
CESE’s Professors Ni and Liu gave us a speech about market demands for eco-efficient waste water treatment technologies in China. They introduced the world urbanization process, problems and challenges of urbanization in China as well as methods to promote a new model of urbanization in our country. Besides, Professor Zhu and Professor Li from CESE as well talked about urban air pollution risk assessment and municipal solid waste (MSW) management.
A double-edged sword
As the speech’s theme was “Technology, Policy and Market”, Professor Wang from GSM and Professor Li introduced the case study of a urban river rehabilitation in Beijing as well as China’s economic and social development, from microeconomic perspectives. After this, we also had the chance to learn more about field studies in Beijing Garden Expo and Anding Sanitary Landfill. Then, all the students that were divided into 6 groups based on 6 topics had a group presentation.
As far as I'm concerned, urbanization is a double-edged sword. Only when we seize the opportunity of development and meet the challenges we can gain the upper hand in the competition. Besides, by attending the summer school, we have met many people who work in other fields, which could be very helpful to our future careers.