Shih-yang Kao


I obtained my Master's degree in Urban Planning from Harvard GSD and Ph.D (Geography) from the University of California at Berkeley. Before joining the UPD at XJTLU in 2018, I was a postdoctoral fellow and a visiting lecturer at the University of Hong Kong. My research and teaching interrogate the history and theories of urban interventions, urban politics under climate change, and the ongoing urbanisation of China's economy, society and culture.

I have devoted much of my research endeavour to addressing the question of how aspirations for sustainable urbanism shape state-society relations and create new forms of urban politics. This focus has pervaded my doctoral research at Berkeley, my postdoctoral research at the University of Hong Kong, and my current career at XJTLU, with the latter engaging directly with ongoing debates about urban responses to climate change. My scholarly activities along this line of inquiry have been awarded with competitive research grants and fellowships, and have resulted in publications in top-ranking international peer-reviewed journals including International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. I see these milestones together as a starting point for my long-term research goal of bringing “political ecology” into the study of the contemporary urban processes in the East Asia region. I am currently working on an co-edited book project, tentatively titled 'Urban Crises and Future Cities', which aims at drawing in new ideas about urban governance responding to perceived global crises such as climate change and infectious disease outbreaks.

Another line of scholarly inquiry, which I find myself increasingly drawn into these days, has to do with the question of how the cultural economy and urban (re)developments intersect and co-evolve. What has been prompting me to engage with debates in the geography of cultural economy was the several superb qualitative dissertation fieldworks conducted by XJTLU master’s and PhD students in Chinese cities, which helped me see the intricate connections between the culture industry and the production of new urban places. In this regard, I have published a research journal article (with Hui Wang) in City, Culture and Society, which examined the peculiar relocation of a film festival from the global-looking metropolis of Beijing to the less-developed city of Xining located on the hard-to-reach Tibetan Plateau.

I currently serve as the Programme Director for two of the Design School's postgraduate taught programmes: MSc Urban Planning and MSc Urban Planning (specialisation in Urban Design).

(Updated on May 20, 2023)

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    Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District
    Suzhou Industrial Park

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