UCL Department of Geography


Hanxi Wang

Research Title

Ruralizing Urbanization: Grassroots Cultivations and Metabolisms In China’s Growing Cities 

More about Hanxi

Academic Qualifications 

  • 2023 – Present, University College London. London ESRC UBEL DTP PhD Student 
  • 2021 – 2022, University of Oxford. MSc in Nature, Society, and Environmental Governance (Distinction).  
  • 2013 – 2018, Cornell University. B.Arch. 

Selected Teaching and Professional Experience 

  • 2022 – 2023, Design Teaching Fellow at Cornell University, School of Architecture, Art, and Planning. Ithaca, NY, USA.  
  • 2017 – 2021, Designer, Architect, and Sustainability Expert at FXCollaborative Architects. New York City, NY, USA. 

Professional Qualifications 

  • Licensed architect in the state of New York, USA 
  • LEED Accredited Professional, Building Design + Construction  



      I am a PGTA at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis in the following module:

      • H. Wang and C. Rossi, "Assessing the Impact of Informal Ruralisation Practices within the Rapid Urbanisation of Wuhan, China," IGARSS 2023 - 2023 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Pasadena, CA, USA, 2023, pp. 2386-2389, doi: 10.1109/IGARSS52108.2023.10282055.  
      • H. Wang, “HOME-steading. Subversions, Reversions, and Diversions of the Moral Right to Space,” Critic|all Conference, Delft, the Netherlands, 2023, https://criticall.es/. 
      • H. Wang, “'Living Comfortably Without Anybody’s Help’ – (Re)turning to Individual Self-Sufficiency Within China’s Urban Expansion,” 2022 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Newcastle University, Aug, 2023. 
      Research Interests

      Within China’s rapid urbanization, chengshi kaihuang (translated as “urban homesteading”), an informal practice of vegetable gardening emerging from China’s urban wastelands, has been quietly ruralising the newly constructed urban landscape. As such, urban homesteading challenges both the prevailing conceptual separation between the rural and the urban and the assumption of the passive and powerless Chinese citizen within understandings of contemporary China.

      Through a mixed-method study combining digital discourse analysis and semi-structured interviews, this project contributes original research on the complex subjectivity of the urban homesteader within Chinese society and the ambiguous and entangled relationship between citizen agency and authoritarian control within China’s urban environment. Within the emerging discourse on urban futures steeped in crisis and dominated by top-down actions, this study contributes an understanding alternative to Eurocentric conceptions of the “right to the city” where resistance exists, not through radical opposition to, but ambiguous entanglements with structures of power. 

      Research Grants, Prizes and Awards
      • Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Design Teaching Fellowship Research Funding 
      • Rethinking The Future, Temporary Structure Winner 
      • Archdaily Best Student Work Worldwide 
      • Neville Walton Travel Scholarship 
      • UN Permanent Slavery Memorial International Design Competition, Finalist
      • UKRI ESRC UBEL DTP Doctoral Studentship