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Urban Food Policy Forum: Food System Issues and Challenges in the US and China in the Trump and Xi Jinping Era

  • CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy 55 West 125th Street, 7th Floor New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)

The US and China have the two largest and globally pervasive food systems in the world. China is the leading producer and also consumer of pesticides and the U.S. is number two. They are the two largest emitters of carbon and their climate impacts are significantly related to their food system contributions. China's food system has undergone major changes in such areas as food growing, food production, food retail and diet and health, some of which mimic earlier food system changes in the US, while others are distinctive. US, global-oriented companies such as Walmart and Tyson have sought to enter the China market while Chinese companies, some state-run or influenced, have made their moves into the US, such as the world's largest pork producer, the WH Group, acquiring Smithfield,  the largest US pork-related company.

Each country is witnessing challenges to their dominant (and evolving) food systems. How those challenges are able to influence how, where, and what we eat in light of the issues associated with their food systems is the subject of this talk by Robert Gottlieb, the co-author with Simon Ng, of Global Cities: Urban Environments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and China. Learn more at www.globalcitiesbook.com.

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Robert Gottlieb is Emeritus Professor of Urban & Environmental Policy and founder and former Director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College. He is the author of Reinventing Los Angeles: Nature and Community in the Global City (MIT Press) and other books.

About Global Cities: Urban Environments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and China

Over the past four decades, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and key urban regions of China have emerged as global cities—in financial, political, cultural, environmental, and demographic terms. In this book, Robert Gottlieb and Simon Ng trace the global emergence of these urban areas and compare their responses to a set of six urban environmental issues.

These cities have different patterns of development: Los Angeles has been the quintessential horizontal city, the capital of sprawl; Hong Kong is dense and vertical; China’s new megacities in the Pearl River Delta, created by an explosion in industrial development and a vast migration from rural to urban areas, combine the vertical and the horizontal. All three have experienced major environmental changes in a relatively short period of time. Gottlieb and Ng document how each has dealt with challenges posed by ports and the movement of goods, air pollution (Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and urban China are all notorious for their hazardous air quality), water supply (all three places are dependent on massive transfers of water) and water quality, the food system (from seed to table), transportation, and public and private space. Finally they discuss the possibility of change brought about by policy initiatives and social movements.