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International Centre for China Development Studies

Recent Events




The International Centre for China Development Studies (ICCDS) was established in June 2002 in response to an explosive demand for knowledge about China’s phenomenal development subsequent to its accession to the World Trade Organization. It was also an encouraging outgrowth of an extremely successful Master of Arts in China Area Studies Programme (MAChAS) launched in September 2000. In contrast with other similar research centres and hubs that specialize in China’s international relations, institutions and political systems or the labor markets, the ICCDS has set its own agenda focusing on the practical and grounded issues of China’s urban and regional development ranging from the growth and location of multi-national corporations to the pattern and process of regional industrialization and urbanization, dynamics and spatiality of rural to urban migration, regional practices of land commodification and marketization, political economy of urbanization and urban redevelopment, diverse pathways and regional trajectories of eco-urbanism and lately the intriguing and paradoxical “green-turn” of China’s urbanization amidst continuing economic growth and accelerated urban transition. Adopting a down-to-earth approach and targeting issues of direct relevance to policy formation, management and practices, the ICCDS is uniquely poised to carve an important niche not just for the undertaking of original, impactful  and cutting-edge research but also for the training, consultancy and transfer of knowledge and skills concerning China’s urban and regional developments.


Initially harboured in the Faculty of Arts, the ICCDS has since 2008 joined the Faculty of Social Sciences for a better synergism with cognate disciplines. Drawing upon special theoretical and methodological strengths in urban and regional studies and embracing a wide range of international multidisciplinary expertise with common interests in China studies, the ICCDS has provided a distinctive platform for cross-disciplinary collaborative research, scholarly dialogue and knowledge exchange to generate path-breaking impacts on the understanding and management of China’s staggering urban and regional development at a scale and speed unprecedented in history and unparalleled on earth.


The dawn of the new millennium has brought us to an important historical juncture witnessing the phenomenal growth of the Chinese economy, a landmark urbanization of the human race crossing the 50 percent rubrics, unprecedented technological advancements, and alarming trends of consumption and carbon emission threatening the long term sustainability of our small planet. These new challenges and opportunities have, coupled with the distinctive gateway location of Hong Kong bridging China with the world, provided the premises upon which the ICCDS (re)positions itself and (re)formulates its research and development strategy. Leveraging upon our global scholarly networks and well-established linkages with Chinese research institutions as well as extensive field work experiences over China, the ICCDS aspires to develop into an internationally recognized centre of excellence for the undertaking of cutting-edge research, training, knowledge exchange and transfer concerning China’s urban and regional development.


To function as a gateway and focal point of scholarly exchange between China and the international community interested in Chinese urban and regional development

To foster synergized multidisciplinary,
cross-institutional and international research collaboration for the production, exchange and transfer of cutting-edge knowledge concerning China’s continuing urbanization, human-environment interaction and regional transformation

Go Team

To train, cultivate and groom new generations of graduate students and professional practitioners with the needed expertise and special skills for businesses and occupations involving China’s urban and regional development

To generate high societal impacts upon both the academic and non-academic communities through consultancy work and wide engagements with various stakeholders including government agencies, the private and business sector, NGOs, philanthropy, and concerned citizens locally, nationally and internationally

Political Conference
City Skyline

To keep pace with the evolving and ever changing dynamics of China’s urban and regional transformation through the regular hosting of symposium, conferences, workshops, information sharing and networking

To safeguard the long-term sustainability of research and development tapping into resources from local, national and international funding agencies, the private sector and self-financed educational programmes

Donation Jar

Prof. George C.S. Lin

(Planning, Academic and Research)

Fields of Interest

Urban and Regional Development in China

Land Property Rights in China

Transnationalism and Chinese Diaspora

Social Geography of China

Public Policy and Regional Development

Economic Geography

Hong Kong-Guangdong Integration

  Chairman (Director)  

Prof. Shunlin LIANG

(Academic and Research)

Fields of Interest

Remote sensing physical modeling and inversion

Global satellite product generation

Earth’s Energy Budget

Global and regional environmental changes

  Chairman of Advisory Board  

Prof. Wendy Y Chen

(Academic and Research)

Fields of Interest

Ecological Economics

Environmental Economics

Valuation of Ecosystem Services

Urban Forestry

Environmental Science

  Member (Associate Director)  
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Dr. Han MA

(Academic and Research)

Fields of Interest

Land-atmosphere parameters retrieval from multiple satellite observations

Land and atmospheric radiative transfer modeling

Data assimilation and machine learning methodology

Global high-resolution seamless satellite biophyscial products development

  Member (Associate Director)  
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Prof. Junxi Qian

(Programme Director of
Master of China Development Studies)

Fields of Interest

Public Space

Urban Studies & Urban Theory

Indigenous People & Indigenous Modernity


Cultural Economic Geography

Place and Place Politics


Prof. Ben A Gerlofs


Fields of Interest

gentrification and neighborhood change, ethnography, global and comparative urbanism

urban geopolitics, urban governance,
social and political movements 

urban aesthetics, dialectics, ‘structures of feeling’

cultural landscapes, urbanization, ‘social formations’


Prof. Frank van der Wouden


Fields of Interest



Technological change


Impact of distance on socio-economic activity

Computational social science

Economic growth


Network Science

Machine Learning

  Co-opted Member from Department of Geography  

Prof. Shenjing He

(Review of the Centre’s activities)

Fields of Interest

Urban redevelopment/gentrification

Policy mobility and entrepreneurial urbanism

Rural-urban migration and informal housing

Neighbourhood governance

Health geography

  External member of Executive Committee  
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Prof. Debin DU

Dean, School of Urban and Regional Science,
Director, Institute of Global Innovation Strategy,
East China Normal University
Professor Du has long been engaged in research on scientific and technological innovation strategy and geo-security strategy, urban and regional development, and world political and economic geography. He has presided over more than 60 major and key projects at the provincial and ministerial levels, such as major projects of the National Social Science Foundation, major projects of the National Soft Science Research, major research projects of the Ministry of Education for Philosophy and Social Science Research, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China. His research results have been awarded by the Ministry of Education and Shanghai Municipal Excellent Research Achievement Award for many times. He is the main lecturer of the national first-class undergraduate course "World Economic Geography", the Ministry of Education's model course on curriculum and political thinking "China's Development and World Changes", and the Chinese university curtain course "World Geography".

Fields of Interest

Urban and Economic Geography,
Urban Governance in China

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Prof. Patrick Le GALES

CNRS Research Professor, Sociology and Politics
Sciences Po, France,
Fellow of the British Academy (FBA)
Patrick Le Galès is CNRS (National Scientific Research Centre) Research Professor of Sociology, Politics and urban studies at Sciences Po, Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics. He was the founding Dean of Sciences Po Urban School (2015-2022) where he still teaches, and is involved in the “ Cities are back in town ” and “restructuring the state” research groups. He is a corresponding Fellow of the british Academy , a member of the Academia Europea, a co-editor of the European Journal of Sociology/Archives européennes de sociologie and member of the CNRS Scientific Council . Prior to this he was the editor of the International Journal of Urban and regional Research , the president of SASE (Society for Advanced Socio economics), a former trustee of the Foundation for Urban and Regional Research, a member of ERC panels, a founding member of the MAXPO centre (Max Planck Society/Sciences Po).

Fields of Interest

Public Action, European Union, Local Policy,
Urban Sociology, Public Policies

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Prof. Youqin HUANG

Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Success & Professor, Department of Geography and Planning 
Executive Director, Confucius Institute for China’s Culture and Economy, The University at Albany
Professor Huang has devoted herself to promoting research on urban China and to fostering the next generation of China scholars. Currently she is the Co-Director of Urban China Research Network (UCRN), Vice-President of the Research Committee on Housing and Built Environment (RC 43) of International Sociological Association, and a Standing Board member of Research Grants Council of University Grants Committee of Hong Kong. She has been a member of Editorial Board for various journals including Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Transactions in Planning and Urban Studies, and China Perspective. She also served as the Chair and Vice Chair of China Geography Specialty Group (CGSG) of Association of American Geographers (AAG) (2005-2007), and Director of Confucius Institute at UAlbany (2016-2021). She received many awards, including “Outstanding Service Award” by the American Association of Geographers (AAG) China Geography Specialty Group (CGSG) (2019), “Outstanding Service Award” by the Chinese Community Center of the Capital District of New York (2019), “President’s Award for Exemplary Public Engagement” (2020) and “President’s Excellence Award in Research and Creative Activities” (2023) by UAlbany.

Fields of Interest

The Impact of Socioeconomic Transformation and Government Policies, Housing, Migration, Health and Wellbeing

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Prof. Xun LI

Director, China Institute of Coordinated Regional Development and Rural Construction
Professor, School of Geographic Sciences and Planning,
Sun Yat-sen University
Professor Li presides over the National Social Science Key Project "Implementing Action Research on Village Construction" and a number of National Natural Science Foundation projects. He has published more than 50 academic papers in core journals in China and abroad, as well as more than 6 monographs, including "Change in Urban and Rural Planning" and "Guide to the Work of Co-Creation of Rural Good Environment and Happy Life". He has won more than 10 awards, including the National Outstanding Urban and Rural Planning Design Award and the Provincial Outstanding Urban and Rural Planning Design Award for the Research Project on the Implementation Mechanism of Village Planning in Guangdong Province. He has been deeply engaged in the field of urbanization research and rural construction for a long time, and has taken the lead in carrying out the evaluation of national rural construction from 2020 to the present.

Fields of Interest

Regional Planning, Community Participatory Planning,
Rural Studies

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Prof. Celine ROZENBLAT

President of the Urban Commission, International Geographical Union (IGU)
Professor of Urban Geography, The University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Céline Rozenblat is professor of Urban Geography at the Institute of Geography and Sustainability of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland (former Director of the Institute 2018-2022), vice-president of the International Geographical Union (IGU) and member of the Complex Systems Society. She studies systems of cities at European and world scales, multinational firm networks, inter-urban dynamics, comparative urban data, mapping and visualization of networks in geography, and spatial analysis. For several years she has worked on the relations between the evolution of multi-level urban processes and dynamics in city-system networks. To study these topics comparatively, she has built many databases on European and worldwide cities and the networks they form underlying cities’ properties and evolution in a multi-dimensional and long temporal approach. Diachronic and dynamic studies supply materials to develop spatial and dynamic models and visualizations. Former member of the commission of Urban Health & Well-being of the International Science Council, she recently developed in parallel some studies on the planetary urban health and is coordinating an international MOOC on Urban Health Systems.

Fields of Interest

Systems of Cities at a European and Global Scale, Multinational Firm's Networks, Inter-Urban Dynamics, comparative urban data and mapping visualization of networks in geography

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Prof. Weiping WU

Vice Provost for Academic Programs & 
Professor and Director of Urban Planning Program,
Columbia University
Trained in architecture and urban planning, Professor Wu has focused her research and teaching on understanding urban dynamics in developing countries in general and China in particular. She is an internationally acclaimed urban and planning scholar working on global urbanization with a specific expertise in issues of migration, housing, and infrastructure of Chinese cities. Her publications include nine books, as well as many articles in top international journals. Professor Wu has had a number of academic leadership roles beyond the university setting. Currently, she chairs the Social and Behavioral Sciences sub-panel of the Hong Kong Research Grants Council, and serves on the international advisory panel of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities and the nomination committee for the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize. Previous roles include the President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) in 2017-2019 and an editor of the Journal of Planning Education and Research, ACSP’s flagship journal, in 2008-2012. She is an editor of the SAGE Handbooks of Modern China series, and has provided consultation to the Ford Foundation, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and World Bank.

Fields of Interest

Global Urbanization, Migration, Housing,
Infrastructure of Chinese Cities

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Prof. C. Cindy FAN

Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Professor Fan is internationally known for her research on migration, regional development and gender in China and has published numerous articles. Her book China on the Move: Migration, the State, and the Household (Routledge, 2008) is a pioneering study on rural-urban migration and split households in China. She has co-edited two international, interdisciplinary journals: Regional Studies and Eurasian Geography and Economics. Her work was recognized with a Distinguished Scholar Award from the Asian Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers in 2017 and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Bristol in 2019. As Vice Provost, Professor Cindy Fan is UCLA’s senior international officer (SIO) and responsible for the university’s global strategy, international partnerships and global engagement. She is the first woman and Asian American to hold that position, and she works closely with the UCLA Chancellor’s Office to strengthen the university’s relationships and partnerships with institutions all over the world. Prior to her Vice Provost appointment, Cindy Fan served as Associate Dean of Social Sciences, Chair of the East Asian Studies Interdepartmental Program, and Chair of the Asian American Studies Department.

Fields of Interest

Population, Migration, Regional Development and Policy, Inequality, Gender, Ethnicity in North America, Post-Mao China

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Prof. Canfei HE

Dean, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences,
Deputy Director, Peking University-Lincoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Policy,
Peking University
In addition to his academic duties at Peking University, Dr. He has served as executive associate dean of the college of urban and environmental sciences and the deputy director of the Peking University–Lincoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Policy since 2007. He is the associate editor of two Chinese journals, World Regional Geography and Geographical Research, and sits on the editorial board of several Chinese journals. He is also in the editorial board of some international journals, including Eurasian Geography and Economics, Growth and Change, Regional Studies, Regional Science (Open Access Journal by Regional Studies Association) and Area Development and Policy. He is a section editor in charge of Industrial Geography for the Wiley-AAG International Encyclopedia of Geography. He is the guest editor of Growth and Change during 2013-2015 to edit the special issue on Economic Transition, Urban Dynamics and Economic Development in China. The World Bank invited him to write a background paper on industrial agglomeration in China for the World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Global Economic Geography. Dr. He has authored six academic books and more than 50 papers in international journals. In 2014, He was granted the Outstanding Young Scientist Award by National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Fields of Interest

Industrial Economic Geography, Evolutionary Economic Geography,Environmental Economic Geography, Urban and Regional Development

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Prof. You-tien HSING

Professor and Pamela P. Fong Family Distinguished Chair in China Studies, University of California, Berkeley
My research and teaching has been focused on the political economy of development in East Asia, especially China.  I am interested in the question of power and space.  My first book, Making Capitalism in China: The Taiwan Connection, focuses on the role of culture in inter-regional capital flows.  In my second book, The Great Urban Transformation: Politics of Land and Property in China, I examine the issue of territoriality.  I look at how the transformation of the state and the society shapes and is shaped by land battles in Chinese cities and villages.  My co-edited book, Reclaiming Chinese Society, looks at China’s emerging social activism in the struggles over distribution, recognition, and representation.  My current project concerns the cultural and environmental politics in Northwestern China.  For my research I draw inspiration from ethnographical work: in-depth interviews and participatory observation with a reflexive perspective.  I believe that theorizing starts from muddy realities.  It is a process of open dialogues and self-reflections, of which the historical and the geographical, the institutional and the emotional are all indispensable parts.

Fields of Interest

Political Economy of Development in East Asia (Especially China), Power and Space, Cultural and Environmental Politics, Urbanization

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Prof. Jan NIJMAN

Director and Distinguished University Professor,
Urban Studies Institute, Georgia State University
Jan Nijman is the founding director of the Urban Studies Institute and Distinguished University Professor, Geosciences. Nijman is the author of five books and more than 100 other publications in a wide range of international journals such as IJURR, Annals of the AAG, Cities, Regional Studies, and Urban Geography. His primary research interests are in urban theory, urban and regional development, and global comparative urban studies, with regional expertise and extensive field work experience in North America, West Europe and South Asia. Nijman’s professional honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Nystrom Award for best doctoral dissertation in Geography in the United States, the University Teaching Award at the University of Miami, and the J.B. Jackson book award from the Association of American Geographers. He has long been affiliated with the National Geographic Society, as a member of the Committee for Research & Exploration (2002-2011), as chair of NG’s Global Exploration Fund in Europe (2011-2016), and as an expert lecturer on NG Expeditions (since 2005).

Fields of Interest

Urban Theory, Urban and Regional development, Global Comparative Urban Studies

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Prof. Fulong WU

Bartlett Professor of Planning,
University College London
Professor Fulong Wu has a specific focus on emerging Chinese cities, Chinese urban system plan, urban strategic plan, master plan, land reform, real estate and housing. In recent years, he increasingly paid attention to the social, environmental and governance challenges involved in urban development. With the special China focus, professor Wu’s research, broad interest and expertise and interdisciplinary research approach is well positioned to catch the interest, the research and education in all departments and OTB within the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. He has published many papers on urban spatial structure, urban housing and land development, and is working on China's urbanism and urban development, urban and regional governance, urban poverty, and social spatial differentiation.

Fields of Interest

Urban Development in China and Its Social
and Sustainable Challenges

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Prof. Henry Wai-chung YEUNG

Distinguished Professor, Department of Geography,
National University of Singapore
Professor Yeung has published 7 monographs (6 single-authored) and 1 textbook (3 editions), 7 edited books, 105 journal articles, and 50 book chapters. His latest books are Theory and Explanation in Geography (RGS-IBG Book Series, Wiley, 2023) and Interconnected Worlds: Global Electronics and Production Networks in East Asia (Innovation and Technology in the World Economy Series, Stanford University Press, Stanford, June 2022). His previous recent monographs are Strategic Coupling: East Asian Industrial Transformation in the New Global Economy (Cornell Studies in Political Economy Series, Cornell University Press, 2016) and Global Production Networks: Theorizing Economic Development in an Interconnected World (with Neil Coe, Oxford University Press, 2015). For two decades, he has been a co-editor of two top journals in Geography –Economic Geography and Environment and Planning A. He is also past editor of Review of International Political Economy (2004-2013) and serves on the editorial boards of 19 journals in the diverse fields of human geography, management, urban studies, area studies, and general social science.

Fields of Interest

Theories and the Geography of Transnational Corporations, Global Production Networks and Global Value Chains, East Asian Firms, Developmental States in the Global Economy

  International Advisory Board  
  (In alphabetical order)  


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