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Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics

Summary of Research Interests

Urban Studies, Migration Studies, Greater Bay Area of China, Public Space Design and Place-making

PhD Thesis Title

Shiminhua : The Urbanization of Rural-Urban Migrants
-A Case Study of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) of China

Supervisors and Advisor

Professor Shailaja Fennell (Supervisors); Professor Helen Bao (Advisor)

Start Date

Michaelmas 2019

End Date

Lent 2022



Hughes Hall



Ph.D. Candidate, University of Cambridge (2019–present)

  • Henry Lester Trust Scholarship (2019) UCCL Scholarship (2020)
  • Co-Editor, Regional Policy and Practice-Special Issue on Chinese Internal Migration (2021)
  • Founder and Co-convenor, Cambridge Chinese Migration Studies Group 劍橋中國移民研討小組 (2019-)
  • PhD Representative of Land Economy (2019-2020)
  • Organising Committee, Land Economy Early Career Researcher Conference (ECRC 2021)
  • Athena Swan Land Economy Committee Member-PhD Category (2020-2021)

MPhil in Planning, Growth, and Regeneration, University of Cambridge (2018-2019)

  • Cambridge-Hong Kong Edwin S H Leong Hughes Hall scholarship (£36,000, full scholarship) (2018)
  • Merit Thesis (74/100) on Planner’s Practice of Power Under Institutional Codes: A Case Study of Hong Kong’s Lantau Tomorrow Vision
  • Cambridge Chapter Core Member, Nature Health and Built Environment (NHBE) Research Group (2019)

Bachelor of Social Science in Urban Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2014–2018)

  • Admission Scholarship (660, 000 HKD, full scholarship) (2014–2018)
  • Concentration: Urban Planning and Design; Minor in French
  • Academic Officer, Mainland Undergraduate Association (2015-2016)

Name of Other Summer/Exchange Programmes

Sun Yat-sen University, China (2020-2021)

McGill University, Canada (2016-2017)

National University of Singapore (2016)

Peking University, China (2016)

University of York, UK (2015)

Awards and Scholarships

  • Best Presentation Award, RSAI-BIS Early Career Colloquium (2021)
  • Morningside Spirit Award, Morningside College, CUHK (2018)
  • Climathon Global 24-hour Championship Team Leader, Hong Kong (2017)
  • Certificat d’excellence en français, Université McGill (2017)
  • Talent Development Award(Art, Culture & Design), HKSAR Government (2017)
  • Lanson Exchange Scholarship, Office of Academic Links, CUHK (2016)


  • Postgraduate Fellowship, Royal Geographical Society, (2020–)
  • Membership, Regional Studies Association International-British and Irish Section (2022-)
  • Student Membership, Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) (2018–2019)
  • Student Membership, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (2017-)

Teaching and Research Experience

  • MPhil Small Group Teaching, PGR02/Urban Planning and Housing Policy, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge (2021-2022)
  • Undergraduate Lecture Teaching Assistant, Building Service Engineering for Architectural Studies, Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore (2018)
  • Senior Research Assistant (Grade 6), Dr Pabolo Salas, CEENRG, University of Cambridge (2021)
  • Research Assistant (Grade 5), Dr Shailaja Fennell, Development Studies, University of Cambridge (2020)

Professional Experience

  • Technical Advisor on Migration, ASEAN Development Outlook Project, ASEAN (2019-2021)
  • Project Manager-Think Tank III, Hong Kong Public Space Initiative (2017–2019)
  • Community Relationship Manager Assistant, Clean Air Network Hong Kong (2016)

Volunteer Experience

  • Rota Volunteer, Streetbite Cambridge (2018–)[1]
  • Registered Volunteer, Welcome Hall Mission Montreal (2017)
  • Winter Programme Volunteer Teacher and Group Leader, 3 Heart Club (2015)

Professional Qualifications

  • Certificado Español-B1, Cambridge Language Centre (2020)
  • Diplôme d’etudes en langue française-B2, Alliance Français (2019)
  • Light Good Vehicle Driving Licences, HKSAR (2018)


  • National Excutive in Regional Development, UK Federation of Chinese Professionals (UKFCP) (2020–present)
  • Project Developer, Young Chinese Professionals, UK (UKYCP) (2019–2020)

Representative Publications

Conference Paper

  • Zhao, H. & Ng, M. K. (2020). An inclusive Hong Kong through public spaces for urban homeless. Proceeding of International Conference of Urbanism. Jakarta, 2019.

Articles and Book Chapters



  • Chen, L., Zhao, H., Song, G. & Liu, Y.(2021). Optimization of Cultivated Land Pattern for Achieving Cultivated Land System Security: A Case Study in Heilongjiang Province. 108. Land Use Policy.


  • Huang, B., Xiao, T., Grekousis, G., Zhao, H., He, J., Dong, G. & Liu, Y.(2021). Greenness-air pollution-physical activity-hypertension association among middle-aged and older adults: Evidence from urban and rural China. 195. Environmental Research.

  • Huang, B., Huang, C., Feng, Z.,Pearce, J., Zhao, H., Pan, Z. & Liu, Y. (2021). Association between residential greenness and general health among older adults in rural and urban area in China. 59. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.

Working Papers

  • Zhao, H. (under review). Planner’s Practice of Power Under Institutional Codes: A Case Study of Hong Kong’s Lantau Tomorrow Vision. Planning Theory and Practice.
  • Zhao, H. (forth coming). A System Literature Review of Internal Migrants in Greater Bay Area of China. Regional Studies Planning and Practice.






Joseph Hongsheng Zhao is a PhD researcher based in the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge. He gained his first degree in Bachelor of Social Science in Urban Studies from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (1 Hon) with a Capstone Thesis on Hong Kong Homeless People before obtaining an MPhil in Planning, Growth and Regeneration at Cambridge with a Merit dissertation on Planning Institutions in Hong Kong. He also served as a former Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore and a Lanson Exchange Scholar at McGill University, Canada. He was a visiting student at Yuanpei College at Peking University, Sun Yat-Sen University and James College at the University of York.


Migration Studies 

Regional Development and Transformation

Urban Planning Theories and Practice


Key publications: 

Zhao, H. & Ng, M. K. (2020). An inclusive Hong Kong through public spaces for urban homeless. Proceeding of International Conference of Urbanism. Jakarta, 2019.

Other publications: 

Huang, B., Liu, Y., Xiao, T., Grekousis G, Zhao, H., He, J. & Dong, G. (2020). Urban-rural disparities in greenness-hypertension association among middle-aged and older adults: Evidence from China. Environmental International (forthcoming).

Huang, B., Liu, Huang, C., Feng, Z., Pearce, J., Zhao, H. & Pan, Z. (2020) Association between residential greenness and general health among older adults in rural and urban area in China. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening (forthcoming).

Chen, L. & Zhao, H. (2020). Study on optimization of cultivated land pattern in Heilongjiang province based on cultivated land system security (forthcoming).

Wang, H., Liu, X., Fu, X. & Zhao, H. (2020). Spatial differentiation of land ecology-production-living carrying capacity in Chongqing city (forthcoming).



Teaching and Supervisions



Research supervision: 

From November 2020- April 2021 I am working in the field in collaboration with the Sun Yat-sen University in Canton China. I am actively looking for research collaboration in higher education institutions in Hong Kong, Canton, Shenzhen,  Shanghai, Beijing, and other major cities.


 Hongsheng  ( Joseph )Zhao

Contact Details

Email address: 
House 16 Basement, Department of Land Economy, Silver Street, Cambridge


Collaborator profiles: 
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