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Faculty - CAO Kang

  • Kang Cao

    Associate Professor

    Institute of Urban Planning and Design

    B620 An-Zhong Building Zijingang Campus

Research Interest

My research mainly concerns planning theory study, especially philosophical tradition and evolvement mechanism of planning theory. I am also interested with some basic issues in planning history study, such as the framework or structure of this sub-discipline or interdscipline, its methods and methodology, as well as its relationship with other subject such as urban history, architecture history, and sociology and so on. I also study western planning history in ancient time and since the 19th century, and an outline of a global planning history.

Primary Teaching Area

I have a complex experience of education before I finally decide to study urban planning, generally. I have majored in urban planning, architecture design and human geography. Learning experiences in these different fields allowing me to understand urban planning better, both from macro- and micro-perspectives. I combine my personal interests in history, philosophy and archaeology with my major, and finally have planning theory and planning history as my research interests.
As for planning theory, I have studied the development of modern planning theory in the last 2 centuries in my doctoral dissertation. I believe this sets a stage for a deeper theoretical research for me. I suppose that one can trace the development of modern planning theory both from a chronological order and from an internal logic, such as philosophical traditions, ontology and epistemology, etc. This is what I'm at present concerning and working with. Structuralism, positivism,  pragmatism, rationalism... how do these affect planning theory? I wonder. Besides this, I think there are pairs or groups of concepts in planning theory debate such as public and private; left and right; late-, post- and neo-; class, race and gender that await us to argue.
I have turned my interests to planning history in ancient time, and of the western world in modern times, from the industrial revolution to the present time as I was engaged in postdoctoral work at BNU. I especially curious about how cities evolve from primary settlements or proto-urban settlements, and believe that agriculture, trade, religion and military could all be possible factors for origins of cities. Another focus of my planning historical study is the modern western planning history. My post-doc report mainly discusses how western urban and regional planning practices go ahead after 1945. I've also written a book named A Brief History of Modern Western Urban Planning which is published in Southeast University Press in 2010. Right now I’m working with a textbook entitled “An outline of Planning History” in Chinese, and a monography called “Chinese Ancient Planning History”. I also hope to finish two other books, probably called “A Planning Theory Reader for the Postgraduates”, and “Planning Theory in A World Labeled ‘Post’, ‘Neo-‘ and ‘Late-‘”.


Doctor of Science
Sep. 2002 – Jun. 2005
Human Geography
Department of Urban Resources and Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
Master of Engineering
Sep. 1998 – Jul. 2001
Architecture Design
Department of Architecture, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, China
Bachelor of Engeineering
Sep. 1994 – Jul. 1998
Urban Planning
Department of Architecture, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

Selected Publication

1.         Yang, J. J., Cao, K., and Ban, M. S. Urban Planning and Urban Competitiveness. Hangzhou: Zhejiang University Press, 2013.
2.         Cao, K. 2010. A Brief History of Modern Urban Planning in the Western World. Nanjing: Southeast University Press.
3.         El-Khoury, R. and Robbins, E. 2010. Shaping the City: Studies in History, Theory and Urban Design. Translated by Xiong, G. P., Cao, K. and Wang, H. Beijing: China Architecture and Building Press.
4.         Wu, D. T., Qiao, J. J., Cao, K. and Zhang, Q. M., ed. 2007. Regional Analyze and Planning, 2nd edition. Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press.
Journal Paper
1.         Cao, K. 2014. Book review Parkscapes Green Spaces in Modern Japan. Urban Studies, 51(12): 2711-2713.
2.         Cao, K. and Zhu, J. 2014. A Study on the Use and Evaluation of Planning Journals in China: Based on the Discussion of Online Interview Results and the Impact Factors. Urban Planning International, 29(1): 91-99.
3.         Cao, K. 2013. City and Country, Metropolis and Small City: Dualistic Games in Urban Development of Contemporary China. Urban and Rural Planning. (7): 27-34.
4.         Cao, K. 2013. Brownfield Redevelopment: A Sustainable Development of Urban Land Use. city and Planning (4): 7-13.
5.         Cao, K. and Zhang, Y. 2013. Urban Planning in Generalized Non-Euclidean Space. Planning Theory, 12(4) 335–350.
6.         Cao, K. and Hillier, J. 2013. Planning Theory in China and Chinese Planning Theory: Guest Editorial
7.         Cao, K. 2013. Book Review: Modern Urban Planning Theories. Planning Theories, 12(3) 321–328.
8.         Cao, K. and Liu, Z. 2013. A General Comparative Research on Modern Urban Planning History and Urban History Overseas: similarities, differences and Intersects. Urban Planning Forum, (1): 110-117.
9.         Cao, K. and Xie, Y. 2012. An Insurgent Reflection: John Friedmann’s ‘Thinking about Planning’ and the Development of Contemporary Planning Theory. Urban Planning International, 27(2): 73-79.
10.     Cao, K. 2011. Study on the Urbanization Process in the Ancient World. Urban and Regional Planning Study, 4(3): 86-99.
11.     Cao, K. 2011. Book Review: The City and the Railway in Europe. Urban and Regional Planning Study, 4(3): 194-197.
12.     Cao, K. and Huang, J. 2009. Development Tendency of Western Planning History Studies since the 1990’s. Urban Development Studies. 16(11):53-57.
13.     Cao, K. and Wang, H. 2009. From Instrumental Rationality to Communicative Rationality: A Shift of the Thoughts and Theories of Modern Urban Planning. City Planning Review 33(9): 44-51.
14.     Cao, K. and Wu, X C. 2009. A Finest Expression of Planning Theory Literatures: Book Review of Critical Essays in Planning Theory. Urban Planning International, 24(4): 110-114.
15.     Cao, K. and Tao, Y. 2008. Tokyo Modern Urban Planning: From the Period of Meiji to Taisho. Urban Planning International, 23 (2): 10-18.
16.     Cao, K. 2008. A Probe into Japanese Urban Planning. Urban Planning International, 23 (2): 1-2.
17.     Cao, K. and Jin, T. 2007. A Discussion on Brownfield Redevelopment Strategies in Western Countries and its Inspiration to China. China Population, Resources and Environment, 17 (6): 124-129.
18.     Cao, K. 2007. Book Review: Planning the Twentieth-Century City: The Advanced Capitalist World. Urban and Regional Planning, 1(1): 135-137.
19.     Cao, K. and He, H. C. 2007. Demystifying ‘Brownfield’. China Land, (8): 43-44.
20.     Cao, K. and Wu, D. T. 2007. Dualism in Planning Theory: Debates on Substantive Planning Theory and Procedural Planning Theory. Urban Problems, (8): 2-6.
21.     Cao, K. and Guan, H. 2007. Brownfield Redevelopment Toward Sustainable Urban land Use in China. Chinese Geographical Science, 17 (2): 127-134.
22.     Cao, K. and Zhao, S. L. 2007. Evolution and Development of Urban Planning-making Method. Planners, 23 (1): 9-11.
23.     Cao, K. 2006. Resource-efficient City: From Idea to Practice. Planners, 22 (5): 5-7.
24.     Cao, K. and Deng, X. Y. 2006. The Professionalization of Urban Planning: from the End of 19th Century to the Beginning of 20th Century. Urban Planning Overseas, 21 (2): 56-59.
25.     Cao, K. and Wang, H. 2005. Comparative Study on the Evolution, Types and Themes of Foreign and domestic Urban Planning Periodicals. Planners, 21 (12): 23-27.
26.     Cao, K. 2005. Origin of Urban Planning:From 18th Century to 19th Century. Modern Urban Research. 20 (10): 39-43.
27.     Cao, K., Lin, Y. Z. and Jiao, Z. M. 2005. Planning Ideals of Olmsted: Beyond Park Design and Landscape Design. Chinese Landscape Architecture, (8): 37-42.
28.     Wu, L. Y., Cao, K., Chen, P. and Su, W. Z. 2005. Study on 'Five Overall Arrangments' and Five Development Strategies of Jiangsu Province. Economic Geography, 25 (4): 479-482.
29.     Cao, K. 2005. A Concentrative Demonstration of Non-mainstream Planning History: Book Review of Making the Invisible Visible: A Multicultural Planning History, ed. By Leonie Sandercock. Urban Planning Overseas, 20 (4): 81-83.
30.     Cao, K. and Xu, J. 2005. Researching fields and Developments in Geography of Religion. Contemporary Religious Study, (2): 25-31.
31.     Cao, K. and Wu, L. Y. 2005. Philosophical Tradition in Modern Western Planning Thoughts. Urban Planning Forum, (2): 65-69.
32.     Cao, K. and Gu, C. L. 2005. A Review of 20th Century Western Urban Planning History. Urban Planning Forum, (1): 57-62.
33.     Cao, K. and Gu, F. B., 2001. Penetration in Architecture. Huazhong Architecture, 19 (3): 35-38.
34.     Conference Paper
35.     Cao, K., Zhu, J. and Zheng, L. 2013. The Use and Misuse of Collaborative Planning in China. AESOP-ACSP Joint Congress, Dublin, 15-19 July 2013.
36.     Cao, K. and Liu, Z. 2012. A General Comparative Research of Modern Urban Planning History and Urban History: Difference and Overlapping. The 4th Symposium of Chinese Urban Planning History and Theory. Nanjing, China.
37.     Cao, K. and Wei, Y. P. 2011. A Discussion on Enrollment and Employment of Master of Urban and Rural Planning: Based on the Background of Urban and Rural Planning as a First-grade Discipline. 2011 Annual Conference of Contribution of National Colleges and Universities Instructive Committee of Urban Planning. Beijing: China Architecture and Building Press.
38.     Cao, K., Wu, X. C. and Zhu, J. 2010. European Municipal Extension Planning in the 19th Century. Paper of the 2010 Annual Conference of Academic Committee of Foreign Studies in Urban Planning, the Journal of Urban Planning International. Shenzhen, China.
39.     Cao, K. and Zhu, J. 2010. Urban Transformation under Commercial Culture in Hangzhou. Paper of the 14th International Planning History Society Conference. Istanbul, Turkey.
40.     Cao, K. 2009. A Preliminary Study on Undergraduate Urban Planning History Pedagogy. 2009 Annual Conference Contribution of National Colleges and Universities Instructive Committee of Urban Planning. Beijing: China Architecture and Building Press: 233-239.


1.         Third Prize. The 7th Youth Social Science Outstanding Achievement Award of Zhejiang Federation of Social Science Circles, 2012.
2.         Third Prize. Scientific Research Achievement of Zhejiang Universities, 2011.
3.         Best Pedagogic Paper Prize. Annual Conference of Contribution of National Colleges and Universities Instructive Committee of Urban Planning. 2011.
4.         Second Prize. Natural Science Academic Award of Zhejiang Province. 2010.
1.         'Zhijiang Young Social Scholar' of Zhejiang Province.
2.         Outstanding Class Teacher of Zhejiang University, 2010.
3.         Model Individuals of College of Engineering and Architecture, Zhejiang University, 2009.

Professional Memberships

I have a membership of editorial board of the journal Planning Theory, which is ranked 5th in the Planning and Development category in the 2011 Journal Citation Reports (Thomson Reuters, 2012) with a 2011 IF of 2.091.
Membership of editorial board of the journal ‘Planning Theory’ (ISI-indexted, IF 2.091)
Guest editor and referee of the journal ‘Urban Planning International’
Peer-review referee of Planning Theory, Urban Studies, Landscape and Urban Planning, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Chinese Geographic Science, Urban Planning International.