Sheng Zhong PhD 2010

Current Work:  Lecturer, Department of Urban Planning & Design, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, China

In 2010, I obtained my Ph.D. degree from the School of Community and Regional Planning in UBC. Right after graduation, I worked as a Research Fellow at the East Asian Institute in the National University of Singapore, a major think tank for the Singaporean government. Currently I am a Lecturer in the Department of Urban Planning and Design in Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) located in the World Heritage city of Suzhou on China’s east coast.

XJTLU is a young higher education institution co-established by two universities: Xi’an Jiaotong University in China and the University of Liverpool in the UK. I am interested in a wide range of research areas, including cultural economy of cities, culture-led urban regeneration, global city formation, urbanization in China and other East Asian contexts, and urban sustainability practices. Currently, I am teaching undergraduate courses on planning practices in China and North America, environment and planning and urban regeneration. In addition, I am also supervising undergraduate research projects as well as a Ph.D. student.

Having come from eastern educational systems (China and Singapore), UBC represented a totally different educational philosophy for me. One of the biggest challenges I encountered there was to adapt to the western pedagogical methods. It was a difficult and even painful task; however, the process turned out to be extremely rewarding because it not only brought about unexpected learning outcomes but also more importantly transformed me from a passive knowledge receiver into an active knowledge inquirer. Although my role has changed from student to educator today, the experience at UBC echoes very well what I am enthusiastically doing in our Sino-British hybrid university: helping the students (mostly Chinese) develop into independent and reflexive learners. It is the education in UBC that has enabled me to accomplish this.