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Eco-Cities in China and EcoDistricts in Europe

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Application deadlines are approaching fast for Eco-Cities in China and EcoDistricts in Europe, two first-ever study abroad programs open to University of Oregon undergraduate and graduate students this summer. The programs provide extended, urban, hands-on experiences unlike study-abroad efforts at most universities.

Eco-Cities in China

Participants in the China program will visit and live on the site of an eco-city, which is one built off the principles of living within the means of the environment while stimulating economic growth and improving health.

The program will expose students to a wide range of issues related to China’s urbanization and help students develop a critical understanding of eco-city development in the context of China’s rapid urbanization and its unique institutional and economic contexts. Students will spend as much as half the week living in multiple cities and, in an uncommon opportunity, will interact with counterparts from Renmin University of China.

The application deadline is April 15 and the program is run by Yizhao Yang, an assistant professor in Planning, Public Policy and Management who has focused her teaching on sustainable urban development and China’s urbanization and housing policies.

EcoDistricts in Europe

European cities, meanwhile, have a longstanding tradition in creating sustainable and ecologically driven neighborhoods through ecodistricts, which are areas designated for sustainable development and a reduced carbon footprint.

Germany’s Vauban and Sweden’s Hammerby-Sjostad are visible examples of eco-cities and students will study variations on the eco-city model and the challenges to expanding the development principles across cultures. Course work will be applied, policy-relevant, design-conscious and aimed at stretching student’s visions to promote social, environmental and economic change in contemporary urban life.

The application deadline for the European program is April 10 and the program is led by Deni Ruggeri, an assistant professor in Landscape Architecture, and Anita van Asperdt, a local landscape architect and adjunct instructor in Landscape Architecture and the Oregon Leadership in Sustainability program. Asperdt has taught a five-week intensive design studio in Amsterdam and focuses on contemporary design issues; Ruggeri teaches classes in urban and community design, site engineering and place identity and the landscape.

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