Weather processes & hazards
From the Himalayas to the Gobi desert, China’s climate varies dramatically. Compare the climates of different parts of China. How does Shanghai’s coastal location influence the weather compared to Xi’an, located over 600 miles inland? The seasons in these cities are similar to those in the UK, but are they more distinct in China?
China’s coal consumption has become the single most significant determining factor for the future of the world’s climate, though multiple joint agreements with the USA to cut greenhouses gases, signed in July 2014, will help share information and technology to further improve efficiency. A trip to the Three Gorges Dam Project contextualises the scale of China’s energy demand and the importance of developing renewable sources of energy.
Water & river processes, landforms & management
A cruise along the mighty Yangtze allows unrivalled opportunities to study river profiles and landforms. Visit the Three Gorges Dam to learn about river management and control, and see the colossal impact of flooding on the landscape, both positive and negative. In Shanghai learn how the river played a crucial role in the development of this great city.
Geological processes & landforms
Visit the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project to see how human and physical processes can combine to create distinct landscapes. The project was built to prevent flooding downstream by diverting water through a channel cut into a mountain, and created one of China’s most productive agricultural regions.
Urban change & growth
China has some of the most densely-populated urban areas on the planet, offering the ideal forum to study urban development. The outstanding City Planning Exhibition Hall in Shanghai is a case study in creating and planning a vibrant, modern and sustainable city, but also highlights the city’s history as major trade centre.
Development & inequality
As industrial and economic growth has seen large scale migration to cities, so urban development has exploded with vast building projects seemingly everywhere. Modern fully-integrated transportation hubs serve commercial and residential areas, whilst many cities are unrecognisable from just a decade ago.
Beijing and Shanghai have populations over 20 million people, whilst the Chongqing is one of the fastest growing and largest cities in the world with a population of over 33 million in the greater metropolitan area. It’s estimated that over 8 million Chinese people per year migrate to urban centres from rural areas.
Shanghai’s Lujiazui financial district, housing over 500 financial institutions and numerous towering skyscrapers, is the best example of the rapid economic growth in China, but Beijing, Xi’an and the mega-city of Chongqing have all experienced huge industrial growth of their own.
Global systems & global governance
China’s place within a globalised economy cannot be understated. By visiting Shanghai and Beijing, students can sense China’s links to the outside world that only a few decades ago would have been beyond imagination.
The Dujiangyan Irrigation Project converted the Great Plain of Chengdu into one of China’s most productive agricultural areas. What foods are grown here? How does the widely varying climate and soil types across China influence local agriculture and cuisine?
Visit the Three Gorges Dam project to see how southern China’s rapidly growing demand for domestic and industrial water supply is satisfied. Compare a modern irrigation project with the ancient – the damless Dujiangyan Irrigation Project dates back to the 3rd century BC and is still in operation today, having survived countless floods and earthquakes.
Witness the intense energy consumption of China’s mega-cities to understand the need for China to explore alternative source of energy. China’s industrial growth is well-known, but what of the energy required to power projects such as the vast high-speed train network? Why is China looking to increase the number of nuclear and HEP power stations? Visit the Three Gorges Dam project and debate the need for renewable energy vs the environmental and economic costs.