Southern China and Pearl River Delta
China is experiencing rapid economic growth with concomitant societal, regional and political changes. Such changes open up many opportunities for foreign industrial investment but also allow for widening development differentials within China’s urban industrial and rural areas.
In 2007 University of Basel's Department of Geography/Urban and Regional Studies and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Guangzhou's Sun Yat-Sen University agreed on visits to the Pearl River Delta and Switzerland, respectively, and to start cooperating in field trips, field research, especially assistance to Chinese doctoral students coming to Germany and Switzerland and Master's theses for Swiss students who want to study urbanization in China's Pearl River Delta.
The Pearl River Delta is one of the planet's most fascinating urban region: The world's largest Megacity, which will house 120 million people in the future, is being constructed here. Through urban and metropolitan planning, key population centers including Guangzhou (Canton), Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macao with million-plus cities in between are merging to form one continuously inhabited area.
To intensify and to develop the cooperation between Sun Yat-Sen University and University of Basel and to strengthen the communication and the academic relationship between the School of Geography Sciences and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, and the Institute of Geography, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed.
Since 2007 88 Geography students have visited the Pearl River Delta Megacity on seven excursions and learned about urban and territorial planning, industrialization, environmental policies and the policies for creating a new knowledge economy there.