Dr Asa Roast

Dr Asa Roast


I am an urban geographer and ethnographer with a focus on urbanisation in contemporary China. After completing an undergraduate degree in History, I studied MA China Studies at SOAS (University of London), followed by MA Social and Cultural Geography at University of Leeds. I completed my PhD at Leeds, during which time I spent 20 months doing fieldwork in Chongqing, Southwest China. During this time I was a visiting researcher at Southwest University School of Geographical Sciences.


  • Study Abroad Coordinator

Research interests

My research is concerned with the political economy and daily life of urban transformations. I am interested in how changing urban spaces are planned, lived and imagined. For this reason, I am particularly interested in how urban space is negotiated in relation to perceptions of the future, and modernity. My doctoral research focussed on the city of Chongqing in Southwest China, where I analysed how the rapid expansion of the city was organised and implemented, and contextualising this change within the broader transformation of Chongqing municipality in the post-socialist era. My research entailed ethnographic work with residents on the urban periphery, observation of different uses of housing and informal spaces. This work formed the basis of my PhD thesis, completed in 2019. More recently I have been interested in how the future of Chongqing is imagined, both domestically within China and by global audiences.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Social Geography
  • MA Cultural and Social Geography
  • MA Chinese Studies
  • BA History

Student education

I presently teach on the following modules:

  • GEOG1450 The Urban Age (Module Leader)
  • GEOG2046 Making of the Modern City (Module Leader)
  • GEOG2035 Geographies of Economies
  • GEOG3085 Contested Cities

Research groups and institutes

  • Social Justice, Cities, Citizenship
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>