Hello from Beijing

Written by Stephanie Johns

We’ve been back in China’s bustling capital city since Monday evening, and we’ve kept busy. We started the week off with a visit to TEDA – the world-famous industrial park in Tianjin – to check out some of their industrial symbiosis. Many companies and organizations have show rooms that capture their history and goals, TEDA was no exception. One display looked very cool, almost like something out of the Matrix. If only I read Chinese! They also had a room with a light up miniature map of the entire TEDA complex with it’s multiple industrial zones.

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We also visited another wastewater treatment facility, where I always look at the pipes and pumps from an efficiency perspective – courtesy of my time at Rocky Mountain Institute.

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Classes at Tsinghua this week had a transportation focus – learning about ways to finance public transportation systems, differences between the US and China, and sessions on bus rapid transit (BRT). Yesterday we took a field trip to check out the Beijing BRT system and identify in the field some of the challenges of BRT and how you have to pay attention to detail to get it right. One of the best BRT systems in the world is in Guangzhou, China – check out the youtube video Professor Jason Cao showed us – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EUxUM27cNQ The Beijing system was not implement to the same level as Guangzhou and it was an interesting learning experience for all of us.

Part of the team riding a BRT bus

Part of the team riding a BRT bus

Final food for thought – we have to design buildings and cities to be sustainable and comfortable places where people want to live. We have a bit of a challenge in front of us when you have cooling systems that look like this:

The backside of a set of businesses-note the numerous AC units and intensive duct work

The backside of a set of businesses-note the numerous AC units and intensive duct work

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