The Bartlett School of Planning


Tian (Julie) Miao

Research subject

Thesis title: The genesis of a high-tech cluster in a less-favoured region in China: Case study of the Optics Valley of China, Wuhan

Primary supervisor: Professor Sir Peter Hall
Secondary supervisor: Professor Nick Phelps
Sponsor: Overseas Research Students Scholarship (ORS), China Scholarship Committee (CSC), KC-Wong Scholarship Loan
Starting date: 22 September 2008
Projected completion date: 15 September 2012

The emergence of Science Parks in China has from the very beginning been carefully monitored and studied by the government. Posited at the turning point from the planned economy to the market economy, science parks in China have been assigned more than one duty: boosting innovation, but also accelerating urbanization and reversing the imbalanced regional development. This close intertwining between the state and the private sectors thus provides an innovation system that is quite exceptional compared with the dominant western models. What is more, the embryonic nature of the local and regional innovation systems in China offers a much needed contemporary case study for tracing the genesis of a potential innovation-productive system.

A case study approach based on the Optics Valley of China in Wuhan was adopted in my research. By questionnaire survey and interviews, the focus of my research is on the structure and dynamic of an emerging local innovation system embedded within a less-favoured region in China, and it seeks to ascertain: (1) the genesis and development of this cultivated innovation system; (2) the economic and institutional structures and their transformation; (3) the power adjustment between the local, regional, and central governments; and (4) the added value of this implanted innovation system.


I graduated in 2006 with honour from Huazhong Agricultural University, China, with Land Resource Management as my education background. In 2004 I was awarded the National First-Class Scholarship for my outstanding academic performance. My dissertation investigated the compensation standards for land requisition and was ranked as ‘Outstanding Theses’ of Hubei Province. During my studies, I took internship in a local Land Development Bureau in Henan Province, where I contributed to the Five-Year Land Usage Plan of this province.

In September 2006, I enrolled in Renmin University of China in Beijing to pursue my master degree in Land Resource and Real Estate Management. I graduated in 2008 with honour and specialism in land economics, planning, and real estate market. Between 2006 and 2008, I worked as a part-time real estate market analyst for the National Land Information Centre. I also took internship in Beijing Municipal Construction Committee and contributed to the construction of the real estate market monitoring system.

In 2008, I started my MPhil/PhD studies at UCL, thanks to the sponsorship from Overseas Research Students Scholarship, China Scholarship Committee, and KC-Wong Scholarship Loan. I worked as a voluntary PhD representative between 2009 and early 2010 and co-organized a special session in the 2012 annual conference of Regional Studies Association. By far I have presented in over ten conferences, most of which were fully or partly funded. 

Publications and other work

Tian Miao and Peter Hall: Optical illusion? The growth and development of the Optics Valley of China, in conference proceeding: 'Science and the City: Science and Technology Parks, Urban Agglomeration and Spatial Planning', Seoul, South Korea, 06th -07th Oct 2011. Refined paper is invited from the Journal of Environment & Planning C

Feng Lei, Miao Tian, and Jiang Yan: An Analysis of the Effect of Land Supply Restrictions on Housing Price Fluctuation in China, in Economic Theory and Management (Jingji Lilun yu Jingji Guanli), p33-40, Vol.2, issue 2, 2011

Miao Tian: Book review: Unparalleled Reforms: China's Rise, Russia's Fall, and the Interdependence of Transition. Marsh Christopher, 2005. Lexington Books, in Bijiao: China in comparative perspective book review journal, p19-21, Vol. 1 June 2011

Miao Tian: Book review: The handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography. Edited by Ron Boschma and Ron Martin, 2010, in Growth and Change: A Journal of Urban and Regional Policy, p423-426, Vol. 42, Issue 3, 2011

Miao Tian: Thesis: An Analysis of the Effect of Land Supply Restrictions on Housing Price Fluctuation in China, 2008, Renmin University of China

Miao Tian: Thesis: Research on the Measures and Standards of Land Acquisition Compensation: Case Study of Xinzheng City in Henan Province of China, 2006, Huazhong Agricultural University

Miao Tian, 2004: Exploring the regional development strategy through the tourist industry in a mountainous area (Cong Shanqu Lvyouye de Fazhan Kan Quyu Jingji Fazhan Zhanlue) in The Academic Journey of Huazhong Agricultural University (Huazhong Nongye Daxue Xuebao), p20-23, Vol.10, 2004