Colleen Chiu-Shee

Colleen Chiu-Shee (former name: Xi Qiu, 裘熹) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Colleen brings a professional background in environmental design as well as scholarly training in social science. Her work and life experiences in Asia, North America, and Europe have inspired her curiosity about various people, places, cultures, politics, and their interactions. Colleen has developed an expertise that lies at the intersection of four interlocking fields of study—city design and development, environmental planning, urban governance, and global studies. Building on the discourses in the four fields, she explores innovative spatial and sociopolitical interventions that seek to transcend preexisting paradigms to promote environmental sustainability and social justice. 

Colleen’s dissertation examines how developing countries forge adaptive capacity under the pressure of environmental degradation and urbanization. In addition, she has collaborated to develop several research projects that connect scholarship in North America with practice in Asia. These projects have examined a range of topics, including land reclamation and coastal development, urban informality and land politics, collective governance and urban resilience, private production and governance of housing, public housing policy design, and climate adaptation in vulnerable communities. During the pandemic, she has also collaborated to investigate the transnational influences of planning education, rising digital surveillance, and post-pandemic green recovery. 

Colleen’s teaching experience involves creative courses that generate visions for social innovation and environmental design as well as reflective courses that interrogate pressing social and environmental challenges in city development. She has co-instructed courses in a variety of formats, including design studios (both domestic and international), lectures, practicums, seminars, and field surveys. 

Colleen is appointed as a Global Public Voices Faculty Fellow at Cornell’s Einaudi Center to promote awareness, advocacy, and community engagement around global racial justice. She also serves as an International Expert to support international cooperation on environment and development initiated by the Development Research Center of China’s State Council. She co-organizes Urban China Workshop, sponsored by MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab, to enable research dialogues on China’s social and political issues. 

Areas of Interest
Climate Change, Environmental Planning and Management, Globalization, Housing, International Development, Sustainability, Theory of Urbanism, Urban Design