Jia-Ching Chen

Assistant Professor
Affiliate faculty member in the Department of Geography and the Interdepartmental PhD Emphasis in Environment and Society

Office Hours

By appointment: https://calendly.com/jiaching/20min

Office Location

SSMS 2127


Jia-Ching Chen is an urban, development, and environmental studies researcher and Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Currently, his interests are in China's role in shaping the global green economy and the spread of Chinese planning expertise through its international development activities. He also has professional experience in social movements, organized labor, participatory planning and architecture. He holds a professional Master of City Planning (MCP) degree from UC Berkeley and is an Environmental Fellow of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation. Dr. Chen received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in City & Regional Planning with a designated emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies and outside fields in Geography and Anthropology. Before joining UCSB, Dr. Chen was Assistant Professor of Environmental Governance and Urban Systems in the Department of Geography at the Pennsylvania State University.


My work engages interdisciplinary fields of political economy, environmental studies, and urban studies. I have a current interest in the following topics.

• Climate justice

• Global energy transitions

• Political-industrial ecology

• Urbanization

• Infrastructure



Cardoso, Chen, Ernstson. 2023. Blocos Urbanism: Capitalism and Modularity in the Making of Contemporary LuandaIJURR 47(5): 809-32. Voted by the IJURR editorial board as a Best Article Prizewinner of 2023.

Ernstson, et al. 2023. Blocos Urbanism: From Oil to Infrastructure in Luanda. Documentary video, 24 min. Distributed by Situated Ecologies.

Chen, Jia-Ching. 2019. “Refiguring the Rural: Eco-Urbanization in Yixing City, China.” In Grounding Urban Natures: Histories and Futures of Urban Ecologies, edited by Henrik Ernstson and Sverker Sörlin. MIT Press.

Chen, Jia-Ching. 2017. “Social-Environmental Dilemmas of Planning an ‘Ecological Civilization’ in China.” In Companion to Planning in the Global South, edited by Vanessa Watson, Gautam Bhan, and Smita Srinivas. London: Routledge.
Chen, Jia-Ching, John Aloysius Zinda, and Emily Ting Yeh. 2017. “Recasting the Rural: State, Society and Environment in Contemporary China.” Geoforum 78:83–88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.03.014.
Chen, Jia-Ching. 2013. “Sustainable Territories: Rural Dispossession, Land Enclosures and the Construction of Environmental Resources in China.” Human Geography 6 (1): 102–18.
Chen, Jia-Ching. 2012. “Greening Dispossession: Environmental Governance and Sociospatial Transformation In Yixing, China.” In Locating Right to the City in the Global South, edited by Tony Samara, Shenjing He, and Guo Chen, 81–104. New York: Routledge.


Global Perspectives on Society and Environment
Urbanization in the Global South
Environmental Representation, Writing and Advocacy
China and Globalization

Global Political Ecologies
Urban / Environmental Theory