Course Description

What is food? Where does it come from? How does it get to us? Where does it go when we dispose of it and its packaging? What is the sustainable future of local, urban, and global food networks?   This course aimed to engage students in a discussion about their relationship to food both as urban and global citizens. The course introduced central issues concerning networks of food supply, distribution and demand through a series of urban case studies, with a special focus on Hong Kong. The primary aim of the course was to increase students’ awareness and understanding of the local and global impacts of their everyday food choices. The course examined past and present local, regional, and international food networks and their environmental, cultural and physical effects. Tracking backward from consumption to distribution to production, the course  introduced texts, graphic documentation, and case studies which explored, theorized, and explained contemporary discussions on food issues and sustainability, including environmental and health impacts, food security, urban agriculture and other initiatives to create a more sustainable, equitable and food secure future for the city.








Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe and explain historical and contemporary networks, operations and principles of food production, distribution and disposal and to begin to articulate the relationship between local and global systems.
  2. Identify prevailing ideas and philosophies and evaluate the extent to which these influence, and are influenced by, everyday practices, and the landscape, infrastructure and architecture of urban environments and communities.
  3. Apply skills in critical thinking, analysis, integration, diagramming, mapping, writing, presentation and working with others.
  4. Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of local food issues, their relation to global food process and form a critical voice/position with regard to these issues and their relation to a more sustainable food system.



Melissa Cate Christ BA St. John’s College; MLA Toronto; OALA; CSLA; ASLA

The founding director of transverse studio, Melissa Cate Christ is also an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Hong Kong and a registered landscape architect (Ontario, Canada). Melissa’s design research and practice explores mechanisms of critical intervention at the juncture of landscape, culture, urbanism, and infrastructure. Prior to teaching at HKU, Melissa was a designer at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, where she was the project manager for CityCenter DC, a 10 acre mixed use development in downtown Washington DC which includes a public plaza and alley over structure, a public park, and extensive and intensive green roofs on four residential buildings. She has also worked as an urban designer at Dutoit, Allsop Hillier, and as an instructor and design critic at the University of Toronto and the University of Washington. Melissa has a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from St. John’s College.A selection of her recent work can be found at transverse studio.

Teaching Assistants


Andrew Toland BEc (Soc Sci) (Hons) Sydney; LLB (Hons) Sydney; BA (Architecture) University of Technology, Sydney; MA (Architecture) University of Technology, Sydney
Andrew is a research associate in the Division of Landscape Architecture. He holds degrees in economics, law and architecture. His  recent creative work includes a site-specific architectural installation for a public art exhibition in Beijinga piece for Cabinet magazine. His research interests include the spaces of colonial modernism in Asia; the politics and procedures of project procurement in public-sector projects; and anti-monuments in contemporary culture.

Wang Peng, Nina MLA Tongji; BLA Anhui Agriculture University

Ian Qi Fan