CCGL9026 Global Issues

Think Global, Act Local: You, Hong Kong,
and the World

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]


Non-Permissible Combination:
CCGL9002 Hong Kong Culture in the Context of Globalization

Course Description

The catchphrase, “Think global, act local,” has become widespread in the last two decades, as global connections have vastly expanded while the local context is increasingly recognized to be crucial in efforts to improve the world. Given the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of the contemporary world, it is important for each of us to understand how we are linked to the multitude of people and places in it, and what impacts our actions have on them. This course covers several key aspects – trade, finance, consumption, labour, professionalism, global environment and sustainable development – in the context of Hong Kong and the world. We will use related theories to understand how changes in our lives in Hong Kong can change the world. Students who have taken the course should be able to answer both “big” questions related to the global economy as well as seemingly ‘simple’ questions about everyday life, about the consequences of actions.

[Two field trips will be held during Reading Week, and students must participate in at least one. Each field trip will be completed within three hours, including round-trip transport time between campus and the destination.]

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Summarize major global economic patterns and describe the impact economic globalization has had on labor, consumption, carbon economy and sustainable development.
  2. Reflect on and discuss the ways you and Hong Kong impact and are impacted by the global economy and environment.
  3. Identify actions that could be taken to remedy negative impacts you might have on the world.
  4. Distinguish and weigh trade-offs of different courses of action to ameliorate negative impacts or enhance positive impacts.
  5. Identify some small (or large) actions to take to contribute to sustainable development.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 12
Reading / Self-study 60
Assessment: Reflection writing 10
Assessment: Assignment (incl preparation) 17
Assessment: Essay 17
Total: 140

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Class participation 10
Reflection writing 30
Assignment 30
Essay 30

Required Reading

  • Chiu, S., & Lui, T.-L. (2009). Hong Kong: Becoming a Chinese global city. New York: Routledge. [Chaps. 1, 2 & 3]
  • Graham, S. (2016). Vertical: The city from satellites to bunkers. London: Verso Books. [The introduction section]
  • Houghton, J. (2009). Global warming: The complete briefing (4th ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [Chaps. 1, 4 & 10]
  • Nam, K.-M. (2016). Need for coordination between greenhouse gas and pollution abatement regulations: China’s case and its implications for Korea. In E. Kim & B.H.S. Kim (Eds.), Quantitative Regional Economic and Environmental Analysis for Sustainability in Korea. Singapore: Springer.
  • Porter, M., & van der Linde, C. (1995). Toward a new conception of the environment-competitiveness relationship. Journal of Economic Perspective, 9(4), 97–118.
  • Rees, W., & Wackernagel, M. (1996). Urban ecological footprints: Why cities cannot be sustainable–and why they are a key to sustainability. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 16, 223-248.
  • Rifkin, J. (2011). The third industrial revolution: How lateral power is transforming energy, the economy, and the world. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. [Chap. 2]
  • Sassen, S. (2012). Cities in a world economy. London: Sage. [Chap. 2]
  • Storper, M. (2013). Keys to the city: How economics, institutions, social interaction, and politics shape development. New Jersey, NJ: Princeton University Press. [Chap. 3]
  • Ye, J. (2016). Researching inequality in the global city. Class inequality in the global city. Palgrave Macmillan UK. [pp. 16-26]

Recommended Reading

  • Angel, S., Parent, J., Civco, D. L., Blei, A., & Potere, D. (2011). The dimensions of global urban expansion: Estimates and projections for all countries, 2000–2050. Progress in Planning75(2), 53-107.
  • Cohen, B. (2006). Urbanization in developing countries: Current trends, future projections, and key challenges for sustainability. Technology in society28(1), 63-80.
  • Dinda, S. (2004). Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis: A Survey. Ecological Economics, 49(4), 431-455.
  • Ford, L. R. (2008). World cities and global change: Observations on monumentality in urban design. Eurasian Geography and Economics49(3), 237-262.
  • Friedmann, J. (1986). The world city hypothesis. Development and Change, 17(1), 69-83.
  • Glaeser, E. (2011). Triumph of the city: How our greatest invention makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier, and happier. Penguin. [Chap. 9]
  • Stern, N. (2006). The economics of climate change: The stern review. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [Chaps. 18, 20 & 23)
  • U.S. Congressional Budget Office. (2003). The economics of climate change: A primer. Washington DC. [Chaps. 1, 3 & 4]

Recommended Websites


Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr. K. Nam
Department of Urban Planning and Design, Faculty of Architecture
Tel: 2219 4769
Email: kmnam@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr. K. Nam
Department of Urban Planning and Design, Faculty of Architecture
Tel: 2219 4769
Email: kmnam@hku.hk
Dr X. Liu
Department of Urban Planning and Design, Faculty of Architecture
Tel: 2219 4973
Email: xliu6@hku.hk