Welcome to Read Cities!

I am Dr Yimin Zhao. I got my PhD in Human Geography and Urban Studies in the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science (October 2017), where I had been working since October 2012. I also hold a BA in Urban Management (2009) and an MSc in Urban and Regional Economics (2011), both from Peking University in Beijing, China. My research interests include (but are not limited to) space and power, urban political economy, land politics and social justice, and urban ethnography.

I finished two spells of fieldwork for thesis writing in Beijing from 2014 to 2015, funded by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and the Great Britain-China Educational Trust. I was a visiting research student at Peking University when in the field, supported by the LSE-PKU Partnership PhD Mobility Scheme. After a very intense writing-up stage between 2015 and 2017, I passed my viva voce with no corrections on 15 September 2017.


PhD Thesis

  • Title: The hegemony of urbanisation: Questioning the production of space by the state in Beijing’s green belts
  • Abstract: This thesis investigates the state question in the context of China’s urban metamorphosis, with Beijing’s green belts as the study site. Formerly a place of realising the socialist-modernist vision, the imaginary green belts in Beijing have been rendered the centre of state-led and land-based accumulation strategies in the last two decades’ transition of that city. By investigating power dynamics associated with the deformed green belts, this thesis shows both the agency and agents of the urban metamorphosis and uncovers the underlying logic of the state that puts into use various governmental techniques to reproduce its relations of production in and by the urban space. It concludes that the green belts have become the new urban frontier in which the hegemony of urbanisation is consolidated in the course of the state’s reconfiguration of governmental techniques. And it is this hegemony that conveys the reproduction of the “socialist” relations of production and, in the end, the persistence of the Party-state regime.


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