People

The project team of the ChinaUrban ERC project is based in China Planning Research Group at the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. 
Principal investigator : Professor Fulong Wu

Fulong Wu is Bartlett Professor of Planning* at University College London. He is a joint coordinator of China Planning Research Group (CPRG) at Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. He is Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS), UK. He was awarded 2013 Outstanding International Impact Prize by UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). He is an editor of International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, a leading journal in the field of Urban Studies. He has been Professor of East Asian Planning and Development at Cardiff University (2005-2011) and Lecturer to Reader at the University of Southampton from 1998 to 2005.

His research interests include urban development in China and its social and sustainable challenges. He has recently published a book, Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China(2015, Routledge). He is ranked 11th amongst the top 50 Geographers in the age-weighted H-index SCI/SSCI. He was ranked the second in the 50 most productive authors in Geography and Urban Studies, and in terms of citation ranked “6th in Geography and garnered more citations than any other in Urban Studies”. He is among 40 ‘Key Thinkers on Cities’ (Koch and Latham, 2017, SAGE publishing).His total citations are 14,419 in Google Scholar with an h-index of 67 and an i10 index (the number of publications with at least 10 citations) of 153. To date, he has secured funding for 32 research projects, totalling £2,310,000, as PI.

Among many appointments in editorial boards and international advisory boards, he has been Trustees of Urban Studies Foundation and Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies (now IJURR Foundation). He is a member of the UK ESRC Review College, the Assessor Board of the Australian Research Council, and the Standing Review Board of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong. He is a member of the advisory board of the mayor of Wuhan, and planning advisory board of Guangzhou municipal government.

*Bartlett Professor of Planning is a position previously held by Sir Patrick Abercrombie, Sir William Holford, Lord Richard Llewelyn-Davies, Sir Peter Hall and, most recently, Mike Batty FRS. Professor Wu’s prestigious appointment since 2011 presents the opportunity for the Bartlett School of Planning to redefine the planning discipline in global terms for a new generation.

Co-Investigator: Dr Fangzhu Zhang

Dr Fangzhu Zhang is an Associate Professor in China Planning and joint-coordinator for China Planning Research Group (CPRG) in Bartlett School of Planning, University College London.  She worked at the School of City Planning, Cardiff University (2006-2011) and University of Southampton (2000-2002) before joining the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. She has published articles widely in leading international journals. She is co-editor for the special issue “Planning the Chinese City” (Town Planning Review, 2008); “New Direction for Urban China Studies” (Urban Studies, 2020); and Financialised urban development: Chinese and (South-)East Asian observations (Land Use Policy,2021). She also co-edited the book “Rural migrants in urban China” (Routledge, 2013). To date, she has successfully supervised seven PhD students and is currently supervising eight PhD research projects on urban china planning. 

Her main research interests focus on innovation and governance; urban village redevelopment and migrant integration in China; and eco-innovation and eco-city development in China. She has been involved in several research projects funded by the EU innovation programme (on Finance access in biotech); ESRC/DFID (on Chinese urban villages); the British Academy (China’s innovation and governance; Chinese informal settlements; China’s eco-city planning); RTPI (on China planning); the Leverhulme Trust (Urban China Research International Network) and EPSRC (global engagement on UK-China sustainable cities). Her current work is focused on the innovation and governance of Chinese science parks, environmental planning and governance in China.

Research Fellow: Dr Weikai Wang

Weikai Wang is currently working as a Research Fellow at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, on this ERC funded ‘ChinaUrban’ Project. Prior to joining UCL, he worked as a Research Associate on a NERC-Newton funded research project in School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at University of Glasgow (2020-2022). 

Weikai has diverse experience in academia, industry and government in the UK and China. He gained his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Human Geography and Bachelor’s degrees in Economics at Peking University. He completed his doctoral research in Urban Studies at University of Glasgow. Outside academia, he worked as a planning consultant (2014-2016), where he participated in over ten government planning projects for multi-scalar Chinese governments. Based on interdisciplinary academic training and diverse working experiences, he studies urban and regional development from a multidisciplinary perspective, combining the insights from geography, planning and environmental science. His current research mainly focuses on urban and regional governance, spatial planning, and environmental governance. He has published several papers in English and Chinese leading journals around these topics.

Research Fellow: Dr Ying Wang

Dr Ying Wang joined the Bartlett School of Planning in January 2022 as a Research Fellow on the ChinaUrban project. Previously, she worked as Research Fellow at the University of Warwick and the University of Bristol, after completion her doctoral research within the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.

Her research has been concerned with the everyday process of social (dis)integration in China’s rapid urban development, which is not only a social process but also an institutional process shaped by top-down and bottom-up practices across multiple scales. She is committed to an interdisciplinary approach to planning research, drawing on theoretical insights and methodological tools from geography, sociology and political science. More recent work has been in neighbourhood governance in urban China, social mix in China and its integration policies, and geographies of neighbourhood cohesion at the time of COVID-19.

Project coordinator: Yi Feng

Yi Feng is doing PhD project at UCL under the supervision of Prof. Fulong Wu and Dr Fangzhu Zhang on financialization and urban governance transformation in China. Before entering UCL, Yi Feng had studied urban planning at the Nanjing University of China, where she got both Bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Her research interests lie in urban governance, financing urban development and urban development model associated with land. Drawing upon a micro political perspective, she has done research work on urban financialisation in China through the lens of urban development and investment corporations (chengtou) and land reserve centres. 

PhD researchers
Manqi Wang

Manqi Wang is a PhD candidate at UCL under the supervision of Prof. Fulong Wu and Dr. Fangzhu Zhang. Her research focuses on the transformation of urban redevelopment and governance in post-reform China. Manqi got her master’s degree in International Planning at UCL in 2017. Before returning to UCL, she worked as an urban planner (intern) at the Renewal Bureau in Guangzhou, China and ICMA in Washington, D.C., the United States.

She intends to further develop her academic interests and has done research work in urban governance in China through the lens of micro-regeneration (weigaizao) policies and practices.

Kan Zhu

Kan Zhu is a PhD candidate jointly supervised by Dr. Fangzhu Zhang and Prof. Fulong Wu. His PhD work aims to study China’s innovation development within the frame of urban transformation. Kan started studying urban planning at Nanjing University during his undergraduate period, and then he earned a master’s degree in urban and economic geography at Utrecht University. 

His current research focuses on Chinese science parks and emerging innovation spaces. He uses a political-economic perspective to understand how China’s innovation strategies are incorporated into the development of Chinese cities. Particularly, he investigates the role of the state in facilitating China’s high-tech upgrading by studying the governance efforts in operating Chinese science parks.

Mengran Xu

Mengran Xu is a PhD candidate at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. Her supervisors are Professor Fulong Wu and Dr. Susan Moore. She gained her master degree in Human Geography at Peking University and bachelor degree in Resources Environment and the Management of Urban and Rural Planning at Nanjing University.


Her current research focuses on the social integration of migrants in China. Specifically, she studies the intergroup relations between migrants and natives based on both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Zhenfa Li

Zhenfa Li is a PhD candidate at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. His supervisors are Professor Fulong Wu and Dr Fangzhu Zhang. He finished his undergraduate study at Beijing Normal University and got the master’s degree at Peking University.

He currently focuses on the process of financialisation. Specifically, he pays attention to the role of the state, state–finance entanglements, state–market relations and the role of the financial intermediaries in financialisation. He mainly uses the perspectives of political economy and economic geography. The main empirical focus of his research is local government bonds in China.

Yining Liu

Yining Liu is a PhD student at UCL, under the supervision of Dr. Fangzhu Zhang and Prof. Yvonne Rydin. She got her MSc and BSc degrees from the UCL Bartlett School of Planning. Her research interests lie in the transitions of China’s environmental governance and the political ecology of China’s ecological projects.