Yu Chen

Dr Yu Chen

Lecturer in Chinese Studies

BSc (SHUFE, Shanghai) MSc (Fudan, Shanghai); MSc (Oslo); PhD (Glasgow)

Contact details
Email: yu.chen@sheffield.ac.uk
Tel: 0114 222 8427
Room: B06


Dr Yu Chen joined the School of East Asian Studies in November 2012. She gained her PhD in Urban Studies from the University of Glasgow. Before that, she had obtained BSc from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, two MSc from a collaborative program between Fudan University and the University of Oslo, Norway.

Her PhD thesis examines labour market experience of migrants in China using both qualitative and quantitative data from fieldwork in Shanghai. She then worked as research fellow in externally-funded research projects on housing market and urban change at the same department (Urban Studies) in Glasgow, before arriving at Sheffield.

Research Interests

Dr Chen’s research interests are in China’s urbanisation and rural-to-urban migration. China is experiencing the largest migration wave in human history, with hundreds of millions of people moving from the countryside to cities to seek better life. She is interested in the social, economic, spatial and environmental consequences of such massive urbanisation.

She is currently involved in two ESRC-funded research projects:

  • ESRC/CASS Urban Transformations: Urban Development, Migration, Segregation and Inequality (09/2015 -- 08/2018). This project aims to bring together researchers from the University of Glasgow, University of Sheffield and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, to develop new ideas, innovative methods and analysis on the impacts of migration on urban development, the related social-spatial segregation and public policy challenges.
  • ESRC/GCRF: Dynamics of Health & Environmental Inequalities in Hebei Province, China (01/2017 – 07/2018). The goal of the project is to work with analysts and government officers in Hebei Province to develop the data infrastructure to examine the social and health impacts of rapid urbanisation and air pollution, in order to improve decision support tools for economic and social policy.

Her previous project, funded by the Universities China Committee in London and Adam Smith Research Foundation, focused on new-generation migrants, their aspirations and socio-economic integration in urban China.


Dr Chen believes that teaching should be student-centred. Through various teaching methods, students gain not only knowledge about specific subjects, but transferable skills of critical thinking, logical reasoning and good communication. She is organising the following UG and TPG modules, besides dissertation supervision at all levels.

EAS248 Urbanisation in China
EAS329 Population and Environment in China
EAS6204 Chinese Cities in Transition
EAS6868 Research Methods

Selected Publications

Ma, J., Chen, Y. and Dong, G. (in press) Flexible Spatial Multilevel Modelling of Neighbourhood Satisfaction in Beijing. Professional Geographer.

Chen, Y. and Wang, J. (2015) Social integration of new-generation migrants in Shanghai China, Habitat International, 49, 419-425.

Chen, Y. and Pryce, G. (2014) Migrants’ job search in urban China: Social networks and the open labour market. In: F. Wu, F. Zhang, C. Webster (eds.) Rural Migrants in Urban China: Enclaves and Transient Urbanism, London: Routledge, pp. 69-83.

Chen, Y.; Fingleton, B.; Pryce, G.; Chen, A. & Djordjevic, S. (2013) Implications of rising flood-risk for employment location: A GMM spatial model with agglomeration and endogenous house price effects, Journal of Property Research, 30, 4, 298-323.

Chen, Y. and Pryce, G. (2012) Environmental risk: Flooding, In: Smith, S.J. (ed.) International Encyclopaedia of Housing and Home, Elsevier, Oxford, UK, pp. 104-108.

Chen, Y.; Gibb, K.; Leishman, C. and Wright, R. (2012) The impact of population aging on house prices: A micro-simulation approach, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 59, 5, 523-542.

Chen, Y. (2011) Occupational attainment of migrants and local workers: Findings from a survey in Shanghai’s manufacturing sector, Urban Studies, 48, 1, 3-21.

Chen, Y. (2011) Rural migrants in urban China: Characteristics and challenges to public policy, Local Economy, 26, 5, 325-336.

Chen, Y. and Hoy, C. (2011) Explaining migrants’ economic vulnerability in urban China: Institutional discrimination and market imperatives, Asian Population Studies, 7, 2, 123-136.

Pryce, G.; Chen, Y. and Galster, G. (2011) The impact of floods on house prices: An imperfect information approach with myopia and amnesia, Housing Studies, 26, 2, 259-279.

Pryce, G. and Chen, Y. (2011) Flood risk and the consequences for housing of a changing climate: An international perspective, Risk Management, 13, 4, 228-246.

Chen, Y. (2009) Migrants in Shanghai’s manufacturing companies: Employment conditions and policy implications, Journal of Asian Public Policy, 2, 3, 279-292.

Chen, Y. and Hoy, C. (2008) Rural migrants, urban migrants and local workers in Shanghai: Segmented or competitive labour markets? Built Environment, 34, 4, 499-516.

Professional Activities

  • Reviewer for Urban Studies, Housing Studies, Journal of Asian Public Policy, Europe-Asia Studies, Geoforum, Environment and Planning, Urban Studies Research, Journal of Property Research, International Journal of Housing Policy, Journal of Housing and Built Environment
  • Member of Development Studies Association
  • Member of Regional Studies Association
  • Member of Applied Quantitative Methods Network AQMeN

Research Supervision

Dr Chen welcomes applications from prospective PhD students in the fields of urbanisation, migration, urban development and housing.