“Think globally, act locally” extends well beyond environmental concerns. The policies, actions (or inactions), and development choices made at the local level have global significance. As the world continues to urbanize, local policy and management choices play a major role in global well-being. Understanding urban processes, problems, and policies is essential to improving quality of life. This course explores important urban issues from both a global and a comparative perspective. Semester at Sea offers students a unique opportunity to see the diversity in urban problems that exist across the world. Students will gain unique, first-hand perspective on the challenges associated with addressing the health, safety, and quality of life concerns emerging from the process of urbanization. Key urban problems considered in this course include global concerns such as climate change as well as country-specific problems such as feral dogs, housing design, migrant populations, and natural disasters. This course will use readings, in-depth discussion, debate, and real-world case studies to examine major urban problems and work to identify creative local solutions to these wicked challenges.
*Note: This class is delivered when lunch is served.
Field ClassCountry: Vietnam
Date: February 11, 2020
This field class will take students from Ho Chi Minh City to a nearby floating village in the Mekong Delta to experience the unique transportation and commercial hub that has persisted over the years of intense urbanization pressures. Students will get to see rice paddies along the journey and observe the urbanization pressures this region’s farms and villages are facing. After visiting the floating market (and hopefully sampling some local produce), students will continue on their journey to experience the area canals by sampan boat, visit a locally owned coconut candy shop to see how small businesses operate in the area, enjoy an authentic lunch with some time left to visit the locally owned markets and return to HCMC.
1. Understand and appreciate the intersection of development, geography, and weather patterns
2. Experience local economic activity and the impact it has on the local populations
3. Explore and experience fringe development in Vietnam