Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Joshua First

Second Advisor

Emily Fransee

Third Advisor

Joshua Howard

Relational Format



As climate change becomes more pressing with each day and as we scramble to slow down the challenges it poses, adapting the means of operation within our cities will become an invaluable tool for reducing humanity’s carbon footprint. This paper seeks to study the ways in which green infrastructure in global cities can be used to do just that—adapting to and mitigating the effects of challenges resulting from climate change. In order to provide a broad overview of the effectiveness of such green infrastructure systems across the globe, this research will focus on two cities that vary greatly in their geographic, political, and social conditions: Paris, France and Shanghai, China.

Today, large, global cities like Shanghai and Paris “are home to over half of the world’s population and generate 70% of greenhouse gas emissions,” making them an indispensable location of and means for responding to climate challenges (Mairie de Paris 2015, 5). Cities are feeling the effects of climate change just as much as they are contributing to their perpetuation, however, and the problems they are facing are becoming more similar, regardless of their geographic location.

In order to counter the threats climate change is posing on their communities, cities are looking toward the things they can control, with one of the most wide-reaching of these solutions being a reimagination of their infrastructural systems to include more green, eco-friendly design. Eco-friendly city design and infrastructure can take several forms, with some of the most prominent approaches being new means of supplying green and renewable energy, sustainably built structures and communities which aim to make use of existing and natural resources, and a reimagination of public transportation systems. Paris, France and Shanghai, China are only two among several global cities that are beginning to work in the direction of city development with green technologies in mind, attempting to change their current, polluting methods while converging on similar policy and urban techniques.

As will be explored in the first chapter of this research, Shanghai and Paris are two historically different places, with very different developmental histories. However, these developmental patterns which have lasted into the present day are slowly converging, as the two cities look toward similar techniques to respond to climate change, showing us how different corners of the globe might make strides in saving their communities in the years to come.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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