Chongming Island: Where the Grass is Greener

Chongming Island: Where the Grass is Greener
Once upon a time…there was an island called Chongming Island. As the third largest island in China, it was home to a large population of farmers. But they were not the only residents on the island. The large wetlands at the southern portion of the island were a perfect landing spot for migratory birds.
And every day…the farmers and birds lived in harmony with one another. While occasional skirmishes were unavoidable, for the most part, the two species coexisted without any difficulties.
Until one day…the country started large-scale developments in Shanghai, only an hour away from the island. In only a few years, Pudong went from farmland to bustling metropolis.
And because of this…people in real estate and construction began scouring nearby areas ripe for development.
And then…Chongming Island caught their eye. To developers, Chongming Island was the ideal location for rich Shanghainese people to buy vacation homes. Serious plans were made to pitch housing developments.
Until finally…the government declared parts of the island as protected land. Furthermore, they declared Changing Island would only be developed if it could be done in a sustainable way.
And ever since then…Chongming Island has become an area where locals can continue farming, birds can safely land, and tourists can enjoy natural wetlands.
The most important source of research will come from the interviews with people in Chongming Island. Early location scouting is required for us to understand what story is really going on the island, because it is unlikely there will be many other sources besides oral history about the aspect of Chongming Island’s naturalness and why it’s still there. Perspectives of farmers, tourists, and other people involved with the island are essential, and we will see how they tie together. Preliminary research will be helpful before interviewing the people and potentially finding someone who can help us translate Mandarin. Background research, either on the internet or in the NYU library, includes gaining better knowledge of the island and the wetland park. Research topics include:
How long have people farmed in Chongming?
Why did the government choose to develop this island sustainably?
When was the wetland park created? When did it become a national wetland park? Why did the government choose to do this? Are there other wetland parks? If so, where? If not, why not?
Were there any environmental groups involved in the creation of the park or in encouraging sustainable development, if so who?
Which birds have been found on Chongming?
Why is it important to provide birds with this specific migratory area?
Why are birds important to the local ecosystem?
How long has Chongming Island been a tourist area?
Why did the island develop as a tourist area?
Before urban development, how did farmers and birds coexist?

Proposed Dates:
11/24-11/25/17: Scouting out Chongming Island, figure out where is a nice, safe to film
11/29/17: Interviews (without drone)
12/1/17: Flying!

Dylan: planning and logistics, interview coordination, sound design, flying
Persis: research, interviews, flying
Valerie: research, flying, editing

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