Meet our members!

Dongsheng He:

Mr. Dongsheng He
Mr. Dongsheng He.

This month we were very happy to meet Dongsheng, who has been to both PLPR 2023 (Michigan) and PLPR 2024 (Munich). The annual conference was a great opportunity to catch up with his work. So…

Meet Dongsheng He.

PhD candidate at the University of Hong Kong, Department of Urban Planning and Design, Hong Kong, China

General Background:

Dongsheng has expertise in urban planning and human geography. His research interest refers to investigating the causal effects of large-scale urban infrastructure, and financing transit-oriented development (TOD) projects in high-density cities. Currently, he is a PhD student at the University of Hong Kong. Prior to pursuing PhD degree, he obtained his MPhil degree from the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, UK in 2020, and got his bachelor’s degree from Sun Yat-sen University, China in 2020. Dongsheng has published several academic papers featured in Urban Studies, Landscape and Urban Planning, and Health and Place. He was also shortlisted by the Early Career Researcher Award by Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in UK in 2023. His latest publication “New metro and housing price and rent premiums: A natural experiment in China” was published in Urban Studies (coauthored with Prof. Chris Webster and Dr. Guibo Sun).

What are you passionate about?

Currently, I am deeply passionate about investigating the causal effects of large-scale infrastructure in Asian cities, specifically focusing on the metro systems and greenways. Understanding causal inference is crucial in the field of social science. The massive investment in infrastructure presents considerable challenges, given the constraints of limited financial budgets. However, the lack of sufficient causal evidence to support such investments is primarily due to methodological and data limitations. To advance my research objectives, I utilized longitudinal cohort data, question surveys, and second-hand data to conduct rigorous statistical analyses. By employing these sources, I try to provide robust evidence regarding the effects of large-scale infrastructure and propose potential implication for Asian cities.

What are you working on these days?

I am working on a market-based approach to finance the volumetric urban design of TOD in high-density cities. Well-designed spatial outcomes are the goals embodied in TOD, while most of the projects rarely respond to the advocacy of TOD principles, and high-quality urban design tends to be undersupplied in transit station areas. One reason is that the public goods nature of urban design elements and freeriding undermine the economic motivation of both private developers and public sectors. It is therefore important to consider a more effective provision of urban design elements.

“Market-based approach” is defined as leveraging a value capture instrument in a market manner to offset the investment in public goods around metro stations, including metro access and urban design station areas. The key issue is to repack and bundle development rights of private goods (e.g., housing property) and public goods (e.g., metro access and broader urban design elements) together to a pack of common resources. The market-driven pursuit to maximize housing property revenue may stimulate developers to provide proper quantity and quality of public goods following the market needs.

What brings you to PLPR?

My PhD journey was co-supervised by Prof. Chris Webster, an active member of the PLPR community who played a key role in hosting the PLPR annual conference in Hong Kong in 2017. Prof. Webster’s prior work focused on property rights and land value capture, and his research inspired me to explore related fields. Additionally, my primary supervisor, Dr. Guibo Sun, encouraged me to show my research progress at the PLPR conference due to the alignment of my ongoing research project with the interests of the PLPR community. I then applied for PLPR membership and had the opportunity to participate in the annual conference held in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2023.