Welcome to Read Cities!
I am Yimin Zhao, an Assistant Professor in Urban Planning and Management at Renmin University of China. I got my PhD in Human Geography and Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science (October 2017). 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 focuses on socio-spatial processes of urban change, attending particularly to the role of the state in politico-economic dynamics of urban land and environment. Trained as a Human Geographer, I adopt mixed research methods (urban ethnography in particular) to understand microphysics of power relations and state processes in the everyday life, so as to uncover the logics of urban/environmental politics and their socio-spatial effects.
My doctoral thesis investigates agency and agents of the state-led and land-based urban accumulation during the last few decades of urban metamorphosis. With Beijing’s green belts as the study site, I identified in the 15-month-fieldwork that the state’s land business is a total project, where the hegemony of urbanisation has been established with ideological resources, political institutions, ecological masks, and the social fabric – all are subordinated to a renewed territorial logic of the Party-state to work spatial miracles and hence sustain its legitimacy.