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

Twitter - @YuChen_yc


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.


Associated research groups, collaborators and projects

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.

Research Supervision

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


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 East Asian Research Methods


Journal articles


  • Chen Y & Pryce G (2013) Migrants’ job search in urban China: Social networks and the open labour market In Wu F, Zhang F & Webster C (Ed.), Rural Migrants in Urban China: Enclaves and Transient Urbanism (pp. 69-83). London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Leishman C, Gibb K, Meen G, O'Sullivan T, Young G, Chen Y, Orr A & Wright R (2008) Scottish Model of Housing Supply and Affordability: Final Report RIS download Bibtex download

Dictionary/encyclopaedia entries

  • Chen Y & Pryce G (2012) Environmental risks: flooding. In International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home. Oxford: Elsevier. RIS download Bibtex download

Book reviews

  • Chen Y (2009) Review of 'China's Emerging Cities: The Making of New Urbanism'. Planning Theory and Practice, 10(4), 551-551. RIS download Bibtex download