In 2020, Lingnan University launched its Master of Cities and Governance programme. This programme aims to equip students with the types of practical skills and understandings required to tackle the huge challenges facing today’s mega-cities and regions.
As part of Lingnan’s commitment to developing the programme, and making it as comprehensive and relevant as possible, a new Concentration in Environment and Sustainability has now been added to the options available to students.
Goals of the new concentration
The concentration will provide students with a broad understanding of how environmental and social issues link to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainability, in the form of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), is the subject of one of its new courses. “The course will teach students to advise companies how to involve ESG criteria in their strategies,” says Professor Paulina Wong, Programme Director of the concentration. Climate change is another focus. “We offer a short, intensive course about climate change. We want to give students enough knowledge to communicate the issues in a convincing way.”
Environmental concerns will be investigated at local and city levels, as well as national and global levels, and students will benefit from talks by experts active in the spheres of government, academia, and industry, or working with NGOs. They will also take part in international research and academic programme-related events to gain practical hands-on experience.
With topics approached from an international and regional perspective, and an emphasis on inter-disciplinary training, the concentration will give graduates an advantage when applying for careers in international affairs, city management, and public administration, in both developed and developing economic regions, such as the Greater Bay Area. The concentration is also a valuable grounding for higher-level degrees in related fields.
Lingnan University’s related research work
Prof Wong has recently published the results of two research projects examining the levels of air pollution generated by incense-burning at Hong Kong’s temples.
The studies, conducted by Lingnan’s Science Unit under Prof Wong’s leadership, recorded concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) generated by incense burning, both inside and outside temples, at, respectively, six times and four times the recommended levels. In addition, the team found that the more temples there are in one district, the higher the local mortality rate as a result of respiratory disease. To help minimise the health risks to worshippers and neighbouring residents, the study recommends measures such as the deployment of automatic mist sprayers to reduce smoke dispersion, and the use of incense made from non-toxic substances.
Despite its significant impact on ambient air pollution, Prof Wong said that the effects of incense burning in temples was not included in the measurements used in the air quality index. “There has been little change in the number of temples over the last century, but their surrounding environment is ever changing; some temples are right next to residential buildings. This had a significant environmental impact, and our results suggest that incense burning may cause long-term air pollution contributing to respiratory diseases and should not be overlooked.”
Why should I study for an MCG at Lingnan University?
The core aim of the MCG is to equip students with contemporary theoretical frameworks and international and regional perspectives to examine city governance and policy related issues.
How does the new concentration fit within the MCG?
The new concentration focuses on sustainability and emerging environmental problems. The concentration aims to equip students with the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills they need to critically examine environmental and social issues, such as climate change, sustainable urban development, and social equality.
The concentration is linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). What does this mean?
Lingnan University is committed to supporting the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were designed as a blueprint for global peace and prosperity. The SDGs cover issues like health, poverty, education, and justice. The concentration will inform students about the ideas behind the SDGs and explain why they are important. The concentration focuses mainly on applying knowledge relating to the SGDs to solve problems. Students will acquire the tools to communicate what they have learned about the SDGs to help solve the problems of stakeholders in real-world situations.
Do I need to be an expert in environmental issues to take this concentration?
No, it’s suitable for anyone who wants to achieve a good understanding of environmental and sustainability issues and the SDGs. The emphasis is on providing students with a broad knowledge of environmental issues to apply their specific skill sets to analyse case studies in order to communicate these developments to many different audiences.
Have new courses been developed for the concentration?
Yes, courses are mostly new, and they have been tailor-made for the concentration. There will be a multi-scale perspective, so environmental issues will be investigated at local and city levels, as well as national and global levels.
Will there be talks by expert guests?
As exploring solutions to key sustainability and environmental issues requires inclusion of all stakeholder viewpoints, there will be talks by experts from the government, NGOs, academia, and industry. Students will also take part in international research and academic programme-related events to gain practical hands-on experience.
How will the concentration improve my career prospects?
The international and regional perspectives, knowledge and inter-disciplinary training of the concentration will give graduates an advantage in a wide range of careers in international affairs, city management, and public administration, in developed and developing economic regions like the Greater Bay Area (GBA). These include jobs in government, non-profit and non-governmental organisations, research institutes, and international NGOs promoting development-related projects. The in-depth knowledge of environmental and sustainability issues offered by the concentration could lead to employment opportunities in a variety of areas such as the civil service, journalism, project management and education. The programme will also prepare students who intend to pursue further studies in PhD and professional doctorate degrees in fields such as Policy Studies and Environmental Management.
I’m interested in Environmental and Social Governance (ESG). Is this covered in the course?
The concentration will teach students to advise companies how to involve ESG criteria in their strategies.
I want to help to solve the problem of climate change. Does the concentration address this?
Climate change is another focus of the concentration. The concentration will teach the foundational issues relating to climate change such as scientific knowledge, an understanding of the Paris Agreement, the history of climate change, and the surrounding controversies.