USC Price School of Public Policy

SPPD Defines Global Reach in Hong Kong

SPPD Defines Global Reach in Hong Kong

By Cristy Lytal

USC Global Conference Hong Kong Panel Dean Jack Knott, seated right, participates in a panel on resilient urban environments at the 2011 USC Global Conference.

The School of Policy, Planning, and Development (SPPD) brought its international expertise to the table at the 2011 USC Global Conference, held from October 13-15 in Hong Kong. SPPD faculty joined business experts to discuss issues of worldwide significance at the three-day event, titled “Global Challenges and Enhancing Opportunities.”

“SPPD is a global school with global subject matter,” said Jack H. Knott, C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper dean and professor at SPPD. “Most of the issues we deal with – from health care to urban development to the environment – don’t occur just in the United States, but occur around the world. We incorporate that global perspective as an integral fabric into everything we do at the school.”

Knott moderated the Hong Kong conference panel on resilient urban environments featuring Suprayoga Hadi from Indonesia’s Ministry for the Development of Disadvantaged Regions; Luxin Huang from the Chinese Academy of Urban Planning & Design; and Stephen Jordan from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“If we’re actually going to be more effective in responding to the increasing number and severity of natural disasters, a different, more proactive, preventative approach is really needed, and this is where this term resilient cities comes in,” Knott said in his introduction to the panel. “It’s not that we’re going to prevent earthquakes or tsunamis from occurring, but by preparing in advance, we may avoid some of the worst effects that do occur.”

Other conference panels with which SPPD was involved included “Is University-based Research Relevant in the Fight Against Terrorism?,” moderated by Eric Heikkila, professor and director of international initiatives at SPPD. The panel brought together Maria A. Ressa from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore with two Trojans: Milind Tambe, professor of computer science and industrial systems engineering, and SPPD’s Erroll Southers, associate director of research transition at the USC Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE).

“You really have three elements for a terrorist attack to occur: an alienated individual, a legitimizing ideology and most importantly, a complicit society,” Southers explained during the panel. “And of the three, we can probably affect the society most demonstrably and most immediately.”

SPPD professor Richard K. Green, director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, offered his insights during a panel on the financial crisis. Dean James Ellis from the USC Marshall School of Business moderated the panel, which also featured Cheuk Wan Fan from Credit Suisse and Steve Watson from the Capital Group.

“I actually think that we who teach in business schools deserve some heat for what’s happened over the last six, seven years,” Green said during the panel. “The thing about structured finance is it’s fun to teach. The flip side of that is that we tend to not spend as much time on the dull stuff, and in particular, I’m thinking of controls.”

During the conference, Knott also met with the president of Chongqing University to help build research and educational ties.

Reinforcing Ties with Alumni, Students, and Communities in Asia

IPPAM reception

SPPD also drew guests from Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan as well as China, Hong Kong, and the U.S. for its International Public Policy and Management (IPPAM) alumni reception.

“SPPD’s IPPAM degree enrollment is 80 percent Asian,” said Joanna Yu, director of executive education for the IPPAM program. “The world’s economic hubs are moving from West to East, and there is a large demand for improved public policy regarding urban planning, health care, city infrastructure management, environmental issues, and NGOs.”

Dean's Dinner reception

SPPD also co-hosted a dinner with the Hong Kong-America Center. The event featured a lively discussion about the ways that SPPD and its alumni can connect with the Hong Kong business and government communities.

“It’s important for SPPD to have an international student body, because so many of the policy issues are not confined to one border,” said Carol Rush, associate dean for student affairs at SPPD, who met with many prospective SPPD students in Hong Kong and throughout Asia. “We learn from each other in how to come up with solutions to these problems. That is part of what makes SPPD so relevant in the U.S. and around the globe.”

The Global Megacity Forum in Shenzhen, China

Global Megacity Forum in Shenzhen

In addition, SPPD hosted a forum about Shenzhen in collaboration with the Marshall Business School and the US-China Institute. The forum grew out of SPPD’s six successful years of providing training for high-ranking government officials from Shenzhen as well as the recent SPPD China Lab, which partnered with the Party University of Shenzhen.

“Thirty-five years ago, Shenzhen essentially did not exist, except as a small village,” said Heikkila, who, along with Knott, served as a panelist at the forum. “Now, 33 years later, Shenzhen actually has a population that far exceeds that of Hong Kong. It’s an instant city, and it’s a huge city. So [the forum] essentially gave some different perspectives on what Shenzhen might aspire to as it seeks to become a world-class city.”

SPPD began its commitment to international outreach in the 1940s, and the school’s global student body and alumni continue to be one of its greatest assets.