Summer in China 2016 - June 27-August  1
Architecture, Art, Landscape Architecture, Urban & Regional Planning
This is an intense travel and study experience in China, a giant of development showcasing extreme examples of our disciplines. Experience the controversies of an upcoming super power through a view at 5,000 years of history in cities like Beijing in sharp contract with modern cities like Shanghai. 

Live in North China University of Technology and work and travel with Chinese faculty and students in this award winning program led by Cal Poly Pomona faculty.  See some of the largest and most populated cities in the world. Experience a political ideal in this, the largest communist country. Only in China can you experience the contrasts and controversies of a country rapidly changing as it seeks to balance modernity and tradition. 

Open primarily to student from the College of Environmental Design. We also welcome non Cal Poly Pomona students. Please inquire: Professor Irma Ramirez at

APPLICATION DEADLINE: MARCH 2, 2016 (extended through May or until full)

Professor Irma E. Ramirez (ARC),
Associate Professor Rennie Tang (LARC),
Assistant Professor Courtney E. Knapp (URP),

Print and Fill out Application: CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION

Turn in application to either of these offices:
Architecture Department Office, 7-210
Landscape Architecture Department Office, 7-222
Urban Planning Department Office,  7-224


$3,370 Living/Travel Expenses approx.
  • lodging in dormitory facilities living on campus at North China University of Technology in Beijing in a two-person room.
  • Food at on-campus cafeterias and restaurants and during travels. There are approximately 5 days when food is not provided in order for students to explore on their own. 
  • All trips/tours admissions entry tickets. 
  • Bus transportation to scheduled sites/tours and overnight trains to multi-day tours.
  • Chinese Visa
  • 4-week international medical insurance
$1,500 approx. Roundtrip Airfare Los Angeles to Beijing
$2,330 Undergraduate Tuition for 13 units ; $2520 graduate tuition

TOTAL:  $7,200 approx. for undergrads ; $7390 approx. for Grads

NOTE: The usual price of this program is over $8000. Take advantage of this unique opportunity of a a lower cost because the University has just announced that summer tuition will be lower to help students take summer classes in anticipation of semester conversion. 

COURSEWORK - 13 units total

1. Urban Design Studio and Lecture (3-unit lab and 2 unit lecture)

  • Architecture Undergrads: Credit for one topic studio that may be applied as ARC 401/L, or ARC 402/L, or ARC 405/L. If you are a 4th year, this program will put you ahead and will allow you to focus on senior project during your 5th year. 
  • Architecture Grads: Credit for one topic studio (3 lab units for ARC 601L or 602L, and 2 lecture units of ARC 601 or 602). Arch grads will also take a 1-unit independent studies in Fall.
  • Art Students: Credit may be used to satisfy elective requirements.
  • URP Undergrads: Credit for URP 400, 498, 498L. Petition upon return
  • URP Grads: May satisfy URP 641 and URP 642. Upon return, grads must make a presentation to URP faculty.
  • Landscape Architecture Students: Successful completion of the program with a grade of B or better in all courses can be used for credit towards Asian Gardens History, Senior Seminar, Senior Project, Directed Electives, and is a basis to petition an upper Division Topic Studio by portfolio review. Consult Professor Rennie Tang and Professor Andy Wilcox. 

2. Chinese Cities and Gardens - 4 units of 499 Upper Division Elective
  • All students take this class

3. Chinese Architecture, Landscape and Planning Practices 4 units of 499 Upper Division Elective.
  • All Students take this class

  • Architecture Students: Undergraduates currently in 3rd or 4th year may apply. Graduate students currently in their 2nd year of studies may apply. 
  • Landscape Architecture Students: Consult with Professor Rennie Tang and/or Professor Andy Wilcox.
  • URP Students: Students in 3rd and 4th year have priority. Open to all URP Grads.
  • ART Students: Consult with your department advisor for credit. 

China is a setting of social, cultural, political, and economic extremes. The country’s delicate and fragile urban structure has the potential to thrive in its world influence or to break a key balance between people and government, history and tradition, nature and progress, and economic growth and market collapse. The ENV China program is structured to give students a vision of themselves as key players and contributors to the solutions that will shape our world in a time of critical transnational ties and challenges.

Classroom Pedagogy and the Planning and Design Process
The collaborative process is explored though an intensive and demanding classroom/travel experience that begins at home at Calpoly Pomona prior to departure and continues through the program, and post program completion.

Cultural preparation is performed through pre-trip research on Chinese history, culture and planning practices, and interdisciplinary team-building exercises. Reflection methods during the program rely on individual expressions through graphic and verbal “sketches” on journals/sketchbooks created on-site during extensive China travels, and the development of project blogs.

The project topics are explored through site analysis projects conducted in collaboration with Chinese partners to perform date acquisition and extensive sidewalk surveying. Students lead a citizen participation component by developing surveys, interviewing community residents, and inviting community to become civically engaged citizens. In the classroom, students work in multidisciplinary teams that immerse themselves into an intensive and invigorating process of great visions, compromise, and deep ethical reflections. Guest speakers and site visits expose students to the social, political, legal, and economic contexts that shape the design and development of buildings and urban settings in China.

Resources, Collaborators and Partnerships of the program consist of Chinese faculty and students, government agencies and local planning and architectural firms. The collaboration with North China University of Technology facilitates contact local advocacy groups that lead to recorded interviews with activist preservation planners.

Among the companies that have opened their doors to our program are global companies like ARUP construction and AECOM (firm with departments of urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, and engineering), and Zaha Hadid Architects. Other agencies sharing their expertise with us are the Beijing Department of Urban Planning, the American Planning Association in Shanghai, The China Academy of Urban Planning and Design; and the Los Angeles Times Beijing Bureau correspondent David Pierson among others.

Results and Program Honors
This interdisciplinary experience exposes students to non-western canons of cultural, professional, and academic traditions. The program encourages students to become socially responsible professionals as they work on real-world design projects in a foreign context. These are mutually beneficial encounters as parties share ideas about the roles of architects, landscape architects, and planners in the west and the newly developing east. In addition, since our program inception, North China University of Technology has started an urban studies program stemming from lessons of our collaboration and with Calpoly faculty as advisors. For the students, lessons learned and evidence of success is displayed by the comprehensive nature of the final report, student reflection papers, and distinguished recognition of regional and state awards at home by the American Planning Association Los Angeles Chapter and California Chapter.

The result of the class project is serving our local partners to dialogue with city officials on out-of-the-box thinking. Since our collaboration, the Fayuan Temple hutong area that was slated for demolition is currently under further review and demolition plans have been halted.

Program Honors
 Environmental Design Research Association
June 2012

American Institute of Certified Planners
February 2012

American Planning Association California State Award
August 2011

American Planning Association Los Angeles Section
June 2011