Global Cities, Local Environments: Understanding Los Angeles, Hong Kong & Mainland China

  • 19 September 2017
  • 18:30 - 21:00
  • imondi Showroom, Shanghai

By witnessing the great migration of our times, we have come to realize that more opportunities and better living standards in urban areas mean that more people need to be accommodated in our cities. The United Nations predicted that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008 and now predicts that by 2050 about 64% of the developing world and 86% of the developed world will be urbanized.

However, cities involve complicated systems, can be highly unsustainable, and also affect the health of people that it inhabits as well as the environment. Be it transportation, high-density construction, access to safe food, good air quality, waste production, and so on.

Green Initiatives is privileged to have Simon Ng and Robert Gottlieb, authors of ‘Global Cities: Urban Environments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and China’ with us in Shanghai this September. In collaboration with AIA Shanghai we organize a special session with the authors to discuss their book, understand how policy initiatives and social movements affect urbanization and present their views on Chinese cities.

"Global Cities is a richly detailed exploration of the ways environmental policy and urban planning often fail (with occasional exceptions) to work together, to the detriment of cities and the people who live in them. It is a unique and valuable reference for any serious lover of urban history, as well as a likely textbook for environmental planners."

—Mary Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board

Some of the questions we are looking to answer would be:

  1. Are there trends, similar and/or different between these global cities? If yes, what are they?
  2. What are the biggest challenges that these cities will need to be prepared for in the future?
  3. How can we balance the development of these global cities and with environmental health?

Event Schedule

  • 18:30-19:15 Registrations & networking
  • 19:15-19:30 Event introduction
  • 19.30-19:50 Speaker presenations (Simon Ng & Robert Gottlieb)
  • 19:50-20:30 Panel discussions: Simon Ng, Robert Gottlieb & John Villar
  • 20:30-21:30 Drinks & networking

Speakers & Panelists

Simon Ng & Robert Gottlieb
Action research and policy change for better environments: lessons from Los Angeles and Hong Kong
Background: Robert Gottlieb is Emeritus Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy, and founder and former Director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College, Los Angeles. Simon Ng is an environmental and transport consultant, and Fellow and former Chief Research Officer at Civic Exchange, a public policy think tank in Hong Kong. Robert and Simon co-authored Global Cities: Urban Environments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and China, published by the MIT Press in May 2017.
For more information about the book, including book events and book reviews, please visit::

John Villar - Panelist
John is an architect by training and a philosopher at heart. He graduated from the University of Los Andes in 2005 and worked as an Architect in Abalos & Herreros (Madrid) and Plasma Studio (London). He also worked as a builder and structure engineer in the UK with the Carrara Building and Martin Redstone Associates, respectively.
In parallel to his professional practice, he has collaborated with University of Los Andes (Venezuela), University of El Salvador (El Salvador), Westminster University (England), Shanghai University – L’ecole de design (China). With his current employer focused largely in commercial construction, he spends a big part of his time supporting organizations such as Green Initiatives and The Big History project, developing projects that are committed to long-term environmental and social responsibility.


  • Talks will be in English.
  • This event will provide 1.5 AIA continuous learning credits

Green Initiatives would like to thank the China Water Risk team for connecting us to the authors, AIA Shanghai for promotion, as well as the imondi team for providing the venue and snacks & refreshments for the event.

Event Details

19 Sep 2017 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
imondi Showroom, Room 521, Bldg 5, 570 Yongjia Road, Nr Wulumuqi Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Hengshan Road Line 1 Exit 1