E-MAIL: guochen(at)msu.edu

Pronouns: she/her/hers

2022–2023: Lilly Fellowship

Fall 2018: Sabbatical Leave

Fall 2018: Short-Term Visiting Scholar, University of Melbourne

2017–2018: Wilson Center Fellowship Leave



Core Faculty, Asian Pacific American (APA) Studies Program

Affiliated Faculty, Asian Studies Center, International Studies & Programs

Affiliated Faculty, Environmental Science and Policy Program (ESPP)



-Dr. Guo Chen receives GenCen Inspiration Award-Professional Achievement Award (Read Department news / GenCen news) 2023/4

-New Focus (Special Issue) on Hidden Geographies published in The Professional Geographer 2023! Check out the Introduction Essay and all six articles in the issue

-Call for papers to Special Issue on Global Social Environmental Justice (link and flyer) 2023

-Enacting Inclusive Futures: APA Studies Symposium 2022/3/18

-Guo Featured in AAG Women in Geography Webinar: Thriving and Advancing in a Male Dominated Field 2022/3/15

-SWIG Event: Neurodiversity and Space (with resources) 2022/3/4

-SWIG Roundtable & Talk: Afghanistan: Security, Gender, and Development 2021/10/28-29

-Honors Research Seminar on Global Slums;  UURAF award-winning undergrad research Fall 2021–Spring 2022

-AAG virtual panel on anti-racist praxis in Geography and AAG virtual panel on migration, race, ethnicity, & justice, both organized by Guo; Guo penned inaugural AAG-Perspectives article 2021/4/29

-Guo received the CGSG Outstanding Service Award in 2020; AAG newsletter 2020

-Guo as faculty organizer of Anti-Asian Racism & Covid-19 webinar 2020



Urban & Economic Geography

Poverty, Inequality, & Social Justice

Slums, Housing,  & Migrants

Urban & Regional Policies

Urbanization & Environment

Waste Geographies

Mixed, Quantitative, Qualitative, & Creative Research Methods

China & Globalization

Global South, Asia-Pacific, & Emerging Countries

Justice and DEI in Geography

Asian and Asian American Geographies

Guo Chen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Geography & Global Urban Studies

Michigan State University

Ph.D., Geography, Pennsylvania State University

M.S. & B.S., Nanjing University

Guo Chen is an Associate Professor of Geography and Global Urban Studies at Michigan State University and holds a Ph.D. degree in Geography from Pennsylvania State University, a Master’s degree in Human Geography & Urban and Regional Planning, and a B.S. in Economic Geography & Regional Planning from Nanjing University. Dr. Chen received teaching, research, and service awards including a prestigious Wilson Center Fellowship in 2017-2018 and an AAG specialty group service award in 2020. She received college and university awards and distinctions at MSU, including a College of Social Science–Integrative Studies in Social Science Teaching Excellence Award in 2010, a university Lilly Fellow for faculty leadership and teaching excellence/innovation in 2022, and an MSU GenCen Inspiration Award-Professional Achievement Award in 2023.  As an urban and economic geographer, she has authored/co-authored over fifty publications with a research focus on inequality, urban poverty, housing rights, slums, migrants, urbanization and land use, urban governance, and social and environmental justice in China, Asia-Pacific, Global South, and emerging countries. She is also writing about DEI and justice in Geography and Asian & Asian American Geographies. Her articles (including forthcoming ones) appear in PLoS ONE, Scientific Reports, The Professional Geographer, Environment and Planning A, Urban Geography, Urban Studies, Cities, Area, Habitat International, Acta Geographica Sinica, and close to fifteen other journals. She co-edited Locating Right to the City in the Global South (Routledge 2013) and “Interrogating unequal rights to the Chinese city” (Environment and Planning A Special Issue 2012 based on her initiated AAG sessions).  She is the editor of a Focus Section titled “Hidden Geographies” for The Professional Geographer (issue 1 of 2023) comprising six original articles from a highly diverse group of transnational scholars. Her research has been funded by the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Mellon Foundation-funded Urban China Research Network, and MSU (IRGP–New Faculty Grant, CASID, HARP, DFI, Honors College, and Asian Studies–Dr. Delia Koo Awards). She is currently working on book and documentary projects on hidden slums, two edited issues on global social and environmental justice and hidden geographies in the city, and an edited book on DEI in Geography. Guo writes in both English and Chinese languages and authored likely the first geography graduate thesis documenting urban poverty in post-reform China (when she was a master’s student).

Dr. Chen served as secretary, vice-chair, and chair of the China Geography Specialty Group (CGSG) of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), 2012-2015, and received an AAG-CGSG Outstanding Service Award in 2020. She also received the distinction to be nominated and selected as a candidate for election for National Councilor of the AAG in 2023. She served as an Elected Faculty Representative on the MSU Asian Studies Advisory Council, 2019–2021. She currently serves/has served on the editorial boards of The Professional Geographer and Journal of Urban Affairs and has served as an ad hoc reviewer for close to 50 academic journals. Her academic leadership also includes over a hundred organized sessions, invited talks, and conference presentations.  Her public scholarship includes TV interviews, written op-eds, and invited panels/webinars. She penned the inaugural piece for the new Perspectives section of the AAG News in 2021.

Guo has promoted a creative pedagogy with a critical engagement of visuals, documentaries, and simulations in nearly all of her over ten different undergraduate and graduate courses taught/designed in more than a decade on a wide range of topics (economic geography, urban geography, global economy, poverty and inequality, global slums and migration, global diversity and interdependence, people and environment, theories and methods in geography, the geography of Asia-Pacific, and China and globalization), including a popular exit/capstone course for MSU Asian Studies Minor students and a recent Honors Research Seminar on global slums. She has mentored many graduate and undergraduate students, visiting scholars, and interns.

Guo is actively involved in leadership roles related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at MSU. She served as an Elected Faculty Advisor of the Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG) group at MSU, a network of over 30 women graduate students and alums, during which time she initiated the highly visible SWIG Speaker event, organized webinars, and expanded the diversity of the group in collaboration with graduate student leaders.  She was a founding member of the Diversity Committee (2020–21) and Chair of the first standing DEI committee (2021–22) in Geography at MSU, responsible for drafting and leading in creating the first ever department DEI website, making award nominations, organizing several task forces, and compiling resources shared with community, all voluntary work equivalent to that of a DEI coordinator.  In addition, she is a President-appointed faculty member (2021-24) and was an Elected Chairperson of the President’s Advisory Committee on Disability Issues (PACDI) at MSU, and has also worked on its RVSM, Bylaws, and new website subcommittees. She and the vice-chairperson were acknowledged by the President’s and IDI offices for their leadership, zealous advocacy, significant contributions, and “exceptional efforts to ensure that our campus is accessible and inclusive of individuals with disabilities” in 2022. Guo now serves as an elected senator representing the College of Social Science on the Faculty Senate at MSU.

Creative Products: Slums research/student projects site coming out soon!

Selected Publications

Selected Op-Eds

Post-trauma, we need empathy, understanding about the most vulnerable community members, The State News

Working Together for Racial and Social Justice: From Anti-Asian Racism and Violence to Anti-Racist Praxis in Geography, AAG News-Perspectives

China’s Waste Import Ban: A Wake-up Call, But for Who? China US Focus

China’s Waste Import Ban: Dumpster Fire or Opportunity for Change? Wilson Center

The Increasing Visibility of Inequality in Urban China,  China US Focus

Selected Research Publications

Hidden Geographies: Migration, Intersectionality, and Social Justice in a Global Contemporaneous Space, The Professional Geographer 75 (1), 131–137, 2023 DOI:10.1080/00330124.2022.2134152

Dharavi in Beijing ? A Hidden Geography of Waste and Migrant Exclusion, The Professional Geographer, 2022 DOI:10.1080/00330124.2022.2112965

Henancun in Beijing: A Parallel Society in the Making,  In Displacement, Belonging, and Migrant Agency in the Face of Power, edited by Mayer and Tran, Routledge, 2022 (with Feng, J.)

Low-income Population in Urban China: A Case Study in Kunming, Yunnan, Area, 2020 (with Hou, X.)

Urbanization and Income Inequality in Post-Reform China: A Causal Analysis Based on Time Series Data, PLoS ONE, 2016

The Heterogeneity of Housing-Tenure Choice in Urban China: A Case Study Based in Guangzhou, Urban Studies, 2016

The Landscape of Gentrification: Exploring the Diversity of “Upgrading” Processes in Hong Kong, 1986–2006, Urban Geography, 2015 (with Ye, M.)

基于广州实证的后改革时代中国城市住房权问题 (Housing rights in post-reform urban China: A case study of housing differentiation and justice in Guangzhou, China), 地理学报(Acta Geographica Sinica)2015

Socio-Spatial Differentiation and Residential Segregation in the Chinese City Based on the 2000 Community-Level Census Data, Cities, 2014 (with Wu, Q. et al.)

Locating Right to the City in the Global South. Routledge, 2013.

Structural Evaluation of Institutional Bias in China’s Urban Housing: The Case of Guangzhou, Environment and Planning A, 2012.

Housing the Poor in Urban China: Some Empirical Evidence from Nanjing, Cities, 2012

Special Issue: Interrogating Unequal Rights to the Chinese City, Environment and Planning A, 2012

Privatization, Marketization, and Deprivation: Interpreting the Homeownership Paradox in Postreform Urban China, Environment and Planning A, 2011

Urban Poverty in the Transitional Economy, Habitat International, 2006

Other Selected Publications