UNC, Peking University establish urban planning consortium
Thanks largely to the efforts of DCRP faculty member Yan Song, UNC-Chapel Hill is expanding its international academic involvement through a consortium on urban and regional planning and management with Peking University, one of the leading universities in China.
The consortium will promote visiting researchers, student exchanges, workshops and academic conferences. It will also bring together researchers who will examine the unprecedented migration of hundreds of millions of Chinese from rural to urban areas in the coming decades. They will also examine the environmental, social and ecological impacts of that migration.
The Center for Urban and Regional Studies and the Department of City and Regional Planning in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences and the School of Urban Planning and Design at Peking University are the key members of this consortium.
“The rate of urban growth in China is extraordinary,” says William Rohe, DCRP Professor and director of the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies. “In a decade or two, small Chinese towns are literally developing into metropolises.”
Rohe and Ron Strauss, executive associate provost and chief international officer for the University of North Carolina, were in Beijing, China, in late May to sign the consortium agreement and participate in a joint symposium of UNC and Peking University scholars. DCRP faculty members Phil Berke, Roberto Quercia and Yan Song (along with Jack Kasarda of the Kenan Institute and Brian Morton of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies) also travelled to Beijing to participate in the symposium and to explore joint research projects.
The consortium grew out of efforts of the Program on Chinese Cities, a new initiative within the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at UNC directed by DCRP faculty member Yan Song. This broader program is aimed at better understanding the impacts of rapid urban growth on China's built and natural environments.