Project Leaders


Tim Oakes is Professor of Geography and Director of the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. His most recent research explores the development and use of leisure and consumption spaces in China’s urban areas, as well as in urbanizing areas of rural China. He is currently working on urban planning and infrastructural urbanism in China’s ‘New Area’ urban zones. He is, most recently, co-editor of the book Making Cultural Cities in Asia (2016). Tim has held visiting professor positions at the University of Hong Kong, Guizhou Minzu University, the National University of Singapore, Wageningen University, and the University of Technology, Sydney. He holds research affiliations at Cornell University and at the College of Media, Communication, and Information at CU Boulder.


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Emily T. Yeh is a professor of Geography at CU Boulder.  She has conducted extensive research on development and nature-society relations in Tibetan parts of the PRC, including the political ecology of pastoralism, vulnerability to climate change, ideologies of nature and nation, and emerging environmental subjectivities.  Her book Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development explored the intersection of political economy and cultural politics of development as a project of state territorialization.   She also co-edited Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landscapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands with Chris Coggins, and Rural Politics in Contemporary China with Kevin O’Brien and Ye Jinzhong.  She has also explored the relationship between China’s development in its own western regions with its investment and development abroad.  Motivated by the prominence of infrastructure in the Chinese state’s projects in Tibet, she is now starting a new Fulbright-funded research project on infrastructure development in Sichuan province.


Max Hirsh (PhD, Harvard) is an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong and a leading expert on airports and urban infrastructure. He is the author Airport Urbanism (University of Minnesota Press, 2016): an unprecedented study of airports and air travel that incorporates the perspective of passengers, airport operators, architects, urban planners, developers, and aviation professionals. Based on 10 years of research conducted at more than 50 airports around the world, the book sheds light on the exponential increase in global air travel and its implications for the planning, design, and operation of airports. Fluent in six languages and with a professional career spanning three continents, Max inflects his analyses with unique insights into the practicalities of international air travel and the mindset of people on the move.

Max’s academic research on urban infrastructure in Asia aims to stimulate an interdisciplinary dialogue between the fields of geography, science and technology studies, urban planning, and architecture. Outside of academia, Max provides thought leadership for the aviation industry through the popular blog, where he presents leading-edge strategies for tackling the key challenges that confront airports today. Max is also a founding board member of Aerial Futures, a non-profit think tank that explores the future of air travel from an architectural and urban design perspective. Passionate about aviation and urban development, Max works with airport authorities and urban planning agencies around the world to help shape the future of airports and the cities that they serve.

Max has taught courses on transportation, infrastructure, and urban studies at Harvard, ETH Zurich, and the University of Hong Kong. He holds a BA, MA, and PhD from Harvard and a Magister from the Technical University of Berlin. His research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Hang Seng Bank, Henry Luce Foundation, German Research Foundation, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Max is a Sin Wai-Kin Fellow at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, an associated researcher at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, and a lead author of the International Panel on Social Progress.



Dorothy Tang, RLA, is currently a doctoral student at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and an adjunct assistant professor at the Division of Landscape Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. She is a landscape architect interested in the intersections of infrastructure and everyday life. Her work engages with urban and rural communities situated in landscapes confronting large-scale environmental change. Current research projects are concerned with the role of eco-imaginaries in shaping green infrastructure in Chinese Cities, and Chinese engagement with Zambian urban development. She holds a Master of Landscape Architecture with Distinction from Harvard University, and is a registered landscape architect in the State of New York.



Alessandro Rippa is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Asian Studies at CU Boulder where he researches infrastructure development and the politics of mobility along the China-Myanmar border. He completed his doctorate in Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen with a dissertation on the Karakoram Highway and China-Pakistan cross-border interactions. Prior to joining the Center for Asian Studies, he was a postdoctoral fellow at LMU Munich, part of the European Research Council funded project “Remoteness and Connectivity: Highland Asia in the World.” He is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Asian Borderlands.


Lin Zhu is the Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Asian Studies at CU Boulder where she helps with the ChinaMade Project. She is also a first-year graduate student at the Geography department at CU. Her research interests lie in the political ecology of Chinese investment in the mining industry in Peru specifically, and in extractive industry in Latin America in general.



ChinaMade Affiliates

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