Dr Youcao Ren

School of Architecture

Lecturer in Architecture


Full contact details

Dr Youcao Ren
School of Architecture
Arts Tower
Western Bank
S10 2TN

Trained as an urban designer and ethnographer, I obtained a MA in Urban Design and a PhD in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield. My research revolves around sustainable urban transformation in the global South and East in response to UN Sustainable Development Goals. My recent ethnographic work explores everyday sanitation and water practices through an intersectionality lens, with a particular focus to inquiry and (re)interpret infrastructural informality. Through this, I investigate alternative, situated scenarios of sustainable infrastructure transformation. My case studies primarily focus on the urban China but expands to cities of India and Brazil as well.

Prior to joining Sheffield School of Architecture, I held posts at Manchester School of Architecture and the University of Manchester. I am part of the Susinfra network which is the umbrella for a portfolio of research on urban infrastructural transformations in the global south.

Research interests

Sustainable urban transformation in the global south and east, everyday practice of sanitation and water infrastructure, urban informality, urban ethnography


Journal articles


Website content

  • Iossifova D, Dewoolkar P & Ren Y A global ‘toilet revolution’ is underway – but it’s polluting water and ignoring the urban poor. RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching activities
  • ARC6979 Urban Design Tools and Methods
  • ARC6978/6981 Urban Design Project
  • ARC6982 Urban Design Thesis