Peiling Zhou

  • Ph.D.

  • Email:
  • Geography Building
    673 Auditorium Rd, Room 116
    East Lansing, MI 48824
  • Areas of interest: Health/medical geography, cultural landscapes, urban issues in China

Research Synopsis:

grad_Zhou research bio1I am a human geographer and interdisciplinary scholar exploring the interactions between health behaviors and diverse urban spaces. I work in the areas of urban geography focusing on research that adapts everyday spaces and institutional spaces in urban areas to encourage effective health-promotion behaviors. Specifically, my research aims to achieve three general objectives.

First, I pursue empirical research from China to expand theoretical and conceptual scopes of urban studies and geography of aging and health. The unfolding of health-promotion practices in urban China provides valuable opportunities for advancing understandings and discussions of urbanization, gentrification, place attachment, state-society relations, and political economy. Second, I use health-promotion behaviors as a mirror to reflect economic, social and political changes in urbanized China. Global demographic transition, rapid urbanization and neoliberalism, and the booming of science and technology have significant implications for Chinese economy, society and politics. A series of transitions crinkling the surface of the existing market, post-socialist society, and the Confucius traditions, shaping the values and everyday life of ordinary people in urban China. Third, I use case studies from China to find constructive alternatives and solutions to worldwide problems. The estimation of health-promotion policies in urban China provide effective tactics and strategies to respond and resist the upcoming challenges of increasing demographic transition, neoliberalism, and social inequality in China and worldwide.

To these ends, my research consists of three main themes: 1. Promoting effective urban design and urban management to encourage physical activity and other health-promotion behaviors; 2. Empowering older populations to contribute to the communities and cities; 3. Designing spatial strategies of clinical administration to guarantee effective medical processes. My work demonstrates that urban studies on human health and aging can yield new insights to develop social theories, enhance our understanding of urban China, and provide practical solutions to current social problems regarding urbanization, health, aging, and social justice.

Selected Publications:

Zhou, P., Grady, S. C., & Chen, G. (2017). How the built environment affects change in older People’s physical activity: A mixed-methods approach using longitudinal health survey data in urban China. Social Science & Medicine.

Zhou, P., & Grady, S. C. (2016). Three modes of power operation: Understanding doctor-patient conflicts in China’s hospital therapeutic landscapes. Health & place42, 137-147.

Zhou, P. (2014). A socio-economic-cultural exploration on open space form and everyday activities in Danwei: A case study of Jingmian compound, Beijing. Urban Design International19(1), 22-37.