The Bartlett Development Planning Unit

Prof Le-Yin Zhang

Prof Le-Yin Zhang

Professor of Urban Economic Development

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Sep 1997

Research summary

 Le-Yin has wide-ranging research interests, covering urbanisation, globalisation, climate change and macro-economic reform and their effects on cities; the role of the state in economic development and global/world city formation; climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in developing countries in general and their cities in particular.

Her current research activities focus on green bonds market development in China and UK and the role of UK-China collaboration in this area. 

Her research also investigates:

1). The role of the state in urban low-carbon transitions 

2). Economic development strategies for cities

3). Municipal finance and green finance

Teaching summary

DAVP0018 Managing the City Economy

DAVP0019 Practice in Urban Economic Development

Primary supervisor of PhD Students 

"The Impact of the Clustering of Direct Foreign Investment on Urban Economic Development in Qingdao: The case of the electronics industry" (completed)

"The Impact of Fiscal Decentralisation and Market Transition on Local Public Finance in China: Fiscal inadequacy and unmet social security needs" (completed)

"Financial Statism as an Alternative Interventionist Approach in Developing International Financial Centres: The case of Shanghai" (completed)

"Evaluating the Effects of Halal Standards and Their Implementation on the Development of Halal Agro-food Businesses in the Context of Islamic Governance in Brunei" (on-going)

"Back to the City Movement in Latin America: Assessing the economic and social impact of densification through repopulation of inner cities at the local level" (on-going)

"Policy Learning at Work: Investigating the Development of Ethiopia's Industrial Zones Programme with Engagements from China" (on-going)

Applications from prospective PhD students in the following research areas are welcome:

1). Low-carbon transitions

2). International financial centres and global city formation in emerging economies

3). The role of the city economy in urban sustainability

4). Municipal finance and green finance


University of London
PhD, Planning studies | 1991


Le-Yin Zhang is Professor of Urban Economic Development and Co-director of MSc Urban Economic Development at the Development Planning Unit (DPU), UCL

She has a first degree (BSc in Geography) from the Beijing Normal University and a PhD (in Planning Studies) from the University of London.  

Before joining UCL in 1997, Le-Yin had previously worked on full-time basis for: Zhejiang Institute of Education, PRC; Constance University, Germany; University of Greenwich, UK.  She has also served as a consultant for a variety of international organisations and national and local governments (see Achievements for details).

She is a development economist specialised in economic development and management of cities.  Her publications range from inward foreign direct investment, industrialisation and clustering; Chinese economic reform, the central-local fiscal relationship and economic development in Shanghai; relationships between climate change,
industrialisation, the green economy, low-carbon transitions and city development strategies (for a full publications list, go to the tab Publications above).  She is the author of Managing the City Economy: Challenges and Strategies in Developing Countries (Routledge, 2015) and a co-editor of Finance for City Leaders Handbook (UN-Habitat, 2016).

She has teaching, research and consultancy experiences in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany, Egypt, Iran, Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, as well as the UK.