Asa Roast

Asa Roast


I'm an urban geographer and PhD candidate in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds. I recently finished conducting 20 months of fieldwork in Chongqing, China, where I was a visiting researcher at Southwest University.

I practice ethnographic research through participant observation, semi-structured interviews, video and audio recordings, in addition to archival and media resources.

Research interests

My PhD research concerns the rapid peri-urban expansion of housing estates in Chongqing, and the aftermath of the populist and allegedly 'neo-Maoist' policies introduced under the so-called Chongqing Model, 2007-2012. My fieldwork touched upon issues of peripheralisation, housing access, urban food production, rural-urban migration and policing of space, and my thesis seeks to integrate these into an expanded understanding of how urban modernities are composed.

I'm primarily interested in the interrelationship of modernity and the city, currently in the context of contemporary Chinese urbanism—this means examining how concepts of urban modernity are composed through place, power and affect, to understand how ordinary people perceive and respond to the changing uses of space in cities.

Research affiliations


  • White Rose ESRC 1+3 studentship
  • ESRC difficult languages scholarship (Mandarin Chinese)
  • ESRC fieldwork stipend
  • GBCC language training
  • Bernard Buckman Scholarship (SOAS, 2010)