My hometown is Guangzhou, which is located in South China and is the third biggest city in China. With its convenient location, Guangzhou serves as an important national transportation hub and trading port. It has a total population of 14 million people and it’s an urban downtown city. Transportation in Guangzhou is really convenient, you can choose from subway, BRT, train, ship and so on. Like many other big cities in the world, life is convenient and busy there, it’s also a city with long history and great food. However, environmental pollution is also problematic there, water quality and air quality are the two major concerns and the government is working on improving them. To me, Guangzhou is a great place to live in with its conveniences and stunning culture. Although there’s a lot of differences in urban planning between Guangzhou and State College, I always miss the life back in Guangzhou.
In the lesson, we learned about the BRT system in Curitiba, Brazil, which reminds me of Guangzhou. Since it was more expensive to build the subway system, Curitiba chose to design a bus-friendly city and provided subway-quality performance for a fraction of the cost. Guangzhou has both BRT system and subway system, so it’s easy to get around. But subway is still the more popular choice for people to get around the city. I think one of the reasons is that BRT in Guangzhou doesn’t run as frequent as in Curitiba. In Curitiba, BRT comes one minute apart. But in Guangzhou, sometimes it takes longer to commute in BRT because of the bad traffic, and during peak hours, it’s even harder to get on the bus. So I think one thing Guangzhou can learn from Curitiba is to add more BRT buses, especially during peak hours and populated areas.
In the lesson, we also learned about urban farming in Detroit, U.S.. Detroit has a lot of abandoned lands after the city’s economic fortune declines, so people used these lands to farming. Urban farming is organic and locally produced, which is good for the environment. It also helps with the local economy and provides vegetables and fruits to local people. There aren’t many urban farming in Guangzhou, but I think this is an important thing we can learn from Detroit. Although Guangzhou may not have as many open lands, we can still make use of rooftops and balconies to farm. Back at home, my parents plant some vegetables in pots on our little balcony, although they couldn’t provide our everyday needs, I think it’s a good way to relax and keep up a sustainable lifestyle. If we can have a larger scale of urban farming in the city, I believe it would be a big success since more people are concerned about food safety now.