Communiqué: Typhoons and Earthquakes: Key Lessons for Case Program

May 28, 2010
Communiqué: Typhoons and Earthquakes: Key Lessons for Case Program
People gather in floodwater in southern Taiwan after Typhoon Morakot struck in August of 2009.

China Case Study Program Explores Emergency Management and Economic Development in China

By Kate Hoagland – Communiqué: Spring 2010, Volume 6

The Ash Center recently launched the China Case Study Program to address pertinent policy areas in China and Taiwan. Taught both at Harvard Kennedy School and at the Center’s partner academic institutions in China, cases are designed to educate scholars, policymakers, and the next generation of public sector leaders on best practices in emergency management, environmental regulation, health care system reform, and infrastructure development.

“These cases will be extremely valuable for courses on public policy in China by illustrating the complexity and variety of government institutional responses to rapid change,” said Arnold Howitt, executive director of the Ash Center.

Cases under development include:

    • 2008 Blizzards: In 2008, Southern China experienced unusually heavy snowstorms that caused a cascading series of crises: transport by car and rail came to a halt at the peak of the Lunar New Year holiday, the country’s largest spring travel season; many suffered from food and fuel shortages; and the country experienced multiple power blackouts. This case details emergency management response to the crisis.

    • Typhoon Morakot: Typhoon Morakot struck in August of 2009, overwhelming Taiwan with over 100 inches of rain causing mudslides and the country’s worst flooding in over 50 years. Many criticized the government for inadequate and slow response action. This case describes the government response.

    • China’s Energy Boom: In under a decade, China has become one of the world’s top energy producers. This feat was accomplished through significant coordination with a number of central and local government actors, as well as domestic and foreign corporate entities. This case demonstrates how a seemingly top-down centralized initiative was in fact implemented through local government entrepreneurs.

    • Housing Redevelopment in Shanghai: Shanghai authorities recently renovated an Old Lane district made up of over 19,000 mixed income housing units built in the 1920s. In addition to building modern indoor plumbing where it did not already exist and enhancing security, local government officials organized civic services for the elderly and improved the streets and public spaces, fostering a renewed sense of community for the area’s 60,000 residents.

    • CCTV Fire: Ignited by fireworks celebrating the 2009 Chinese New Year, one of the buildings in the China Central Television (CCTV) new complex in Beijing was completely destroyed. CCTV, China’s national television network, was incomplete in its early reporting of the story. This case describes how new media was able to share news of this event with the public.

    • Reducing Air Pollution in Beijing: As the host of the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing welcomed over 184 million visitors from around the world. In advance of the event, the city enacted multiple measures to limit air pollution, including upgrading vehicle emission controls, building new metro lines, and enforcing driving restrictions. This case describes both the temporary and permanent transportation measures adopted to reduce air pollution.

Cases will be available at HKS and, through the HKS Case Study Program, for worldwide distribution this fall. The China Case Study Program is funded through Amway China and the Harvard China Fund.