Wei (Windy) Zhao portrait
  • Post-Doc, College of Architecture + Planning
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, School Of Architecture

Research Statement

My research focuses on the ways in which the process of globalization and modernization has impacted the social relations and cultural identity of marginalized social groups, including people living in vernacular settlements in rural China who struggle to preserve rural identity and heritage in the context of rural and urban inequities, Chinese immigrants living in American Chinatowns who strive to protect their cultural integrity and tradition while their ethnic built environment rapidly becomes dilapidated, and non-permanent residents in Beijing who become the victims of the new urban renewal and historic preservation policy. In supporting this main research focus, I am also interested in issues related to heritage management and sustainable tourist development, as these are often the means and possible future−as a heritage or tourist site or both−for most vernacular settlements, Chinatowns, and historic city centers to sustain themselves in the future.

Research Keywords

  • Social and Cultural Dimensions of the Built Environment
  • Social Sustainability
  • Globalization and Local Identity
  • Built Environment of Marginalized Social Groups
  • Vernacular Settlements
  • China Studies
  • Heritage Management
  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Historic Preservation


  • Zhao, Wei. “Behind the Sealed-up Doors: The New Urban Renewal Movement in Beijing.” Association of Collegiate School of Architecture 106th Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, March 2018. Conference Paper, Accepted, 02/01/2018.
  • Zhao, Wei. “A Historic Palace or a National Icon?: The Reconstruction of Daming Palace Archaeological Park.” The 16th Conference of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, Coimbra, Portugal, October 2018. Conference Paper, Accepted, 01/16/2018.
  • Zhao, Wei. “Politicizing the Vernacular: Building a New Capital of China with Renovated Courtyard Houses.” Vernacular Architecture Forum Annual Meeting, Alexandria, VA, May 2018. Conference Paper, Accepted, 11/15/2017.
  • Zhao, Wei. “Place-Bound Relationship: The Missing Components in the ‘New Socialist Countryside.’” Architectural Research Centers Consortium Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, June 2017. Conference Paper, Presented, 06/08/2017.
  • Zhao, Wei. “Building Upwards: The Development of the Shophouse in Southern China.” Vernacular Architecture Forum Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, June 2017. Conference Paper, Presented, 06/03/2017.
  • Zhao, Wei. “Making Participants the Photographers: Challenges, Validity, and Strength of the Photovoice Method.” Vernacular Architecture Forum Annual Meeting, Durham, NC, June 2016. Conference Paper, Presented, 06/04/2016.
  • Zhao, Wei. “We Are the People Living under Fangyan Mountain!”: Cultural Landscape and Collective Identity of Yanxia, Zhejiang Province, China.” Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, March 2016. Conference Paper, Other, 03/18/2016.


  • Chinese, fluent.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • China


  • Zhao, Wei (2017). Place-Bound Relationship: The Missing Components in the ‘New Socialist Countryside. Proceedings for the Architectural Research Centers Consortium Annual Meeting. Published, 06/15/2017.
  • Zhao, Wei (2017). Seasonal Hotel. Ancestral Hall. Theatrical Structure inside Temples and Ancestral Halls.Tong-Tang-Chang. Bracket. . London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Accepted, 05/30/2017.
  • Knapp, Ronald G. & Zhao, Wei (2017). Zhejiang. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Accepted, 05/30/2017.
  • Zhao, Wei (2017). 再论传统的本质:传统文化在当代环境下的生存与发展 [Re-Examining the Essence of Tradition: Sustainability and Development of Cultural Tradition in Present Day]. 遗产与保护研究 [Research on Heritage and Preservation]. 46-51. Published, 03/01/2017.
  • Zhao, Wei. “Beyond the Invariable Style: The Development of Residential Architecture in Yanxia Village, Zhejiang Province, China.” Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review 26, no. 2. (2015): 41-58. Published, 04/2015.
  • Zhao, Wei. “中国式‘建造’: 以国外文化遗产研究理论来审视国内近几年开展的文化遗产保护项目 [China-Style Construction: Using the Concept of Heritage to Examine the Recent Preservation Projects in China].” 南方建筑 [South Architecture] no. 1 (2015): 24-29. Published, 02/2015.
  • Zhao, Wei. “China: Managing Cultural Heritage and the World Heritage List.” In Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, editor-in-chief: Claire Smith, 1421-1433. New York: Springer, 2014. Published, 08/2014.
  • Zhao, Wei. “Becoming a Seasonal Hotel: The Impact of Pilgrimage Activities on the Housing Tradition of Yanxia, Zhejiang Province, China around the Turn of the Twentieth Century.” Proceeding for The Tenth International Conference on Traditional Housing Research, Nanjing, China, November, 2013. Published, 11/2013.
  • Zhao, Wei. 岩下老街 [The Historical Path of Yanxia]. Beijing: Tsinghua University Press. 2013. Published, 09/2013.
  • Zhao, Wei. “Local versus National Interests in the Promotion and Management of a Heritage Site: A Case Study from Zhejiang Province, China.” In Cultural Heritage Politics in China, edited by Helaine Silverman and Tami Blumenfield, 73-100. New York: Springer, 2013. Published, 05/2013.
  • Zhao, Wei. “The Man-Made God: Thriving between Buddhism and Daoism, the Almighty God of Hugong Dadi.” The International Journal of the Humanities v. 8, no. 9 (2010): 107-118. Published, 12/2010.