Habitat Unit


Dr. des Xiaoxue Gao

Xiaoxue Gao Profil


Room A 410
T + 49 – 30 – 314 – 29177
F + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21907

Curriculum Vitae

Xiaoxue Gao is a researcher and project manager of the research project URA: Urban-Rural Assembly (BMBF, 2019-2024) at the Habitat Unit since April 2019. The goal of the URA project is to manage the inclusive transformation-to-sustainability processes at the urban-rural interface of the Huangyan-Taizhou region in China.

Xiaoxue has been a PhD candidate at the Institute of Sociology at the TU Berlin since October 2014. She studied urban planning at Tianjin University and human geography at Peking University in China before pursuing her PhD. in Berlin. Her Doctoral dissertation, "Thinking of Space Relationally in Chinese Context: The Constitution of the Contemporary Artworld in Beijing (working title)" is expected to be finished in 2019. Her dissertation research focuses on the problem of conceptual discrepancies and the analytical incommensurability regarding the relationally thinking of social space in different epistemic context. Drawing on the critical realism theory and empirical research on the social-spatial practices in the contemporary artworld in Beijing city, Xiaoxue develops methodological procedures to evaluate and recontextualize the various forms of relational space from different paradigms into the situated social world. She concludes on the analytical dimensions that she deems necessary for the understanding of constitution of space relationally in Chinese epistemic context.


Since 2013
Doctoral Candidate of Philosophy (Dr.-Phil.)
TU Berlin
Thesis: Thinking of Space Relationally in Chinese Context: The Constitution of the Contemporary Artworld in Beijing (working title)
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Martina Löw, Chair of sociology of planning and architecture at TU Berlin; Prof. Dr. Bettina Gransow van-Treeck, Außerplanmäßige Professorin of China Studies Department at Freie Universität Berlin

2011– 2014
Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning
Department of Human Geography,
School of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University
Thesis: Social Network and the Production of the Village-in-the-City: A Case Study of Caochangdi Artist Village in Beijing
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Bin Lv

2006– 2011
Bachelor of Urban Planning (B. Eng (hons.))
School of Architecture, Tianjin University

Employment History+

Since 2019
Research Associate and Project Manager
Habitat Unit, TU Berlin

Guest Editor
Project "Stadtmacher China-Deutschland" (Robert Bosch Stiftung), Constellations International GmbH.

Urban Planner Intern
Department of Urban Planning and Design, Chinese Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUDP)

2010 – 2011
Architect Intern
Büro Ole Scheeren Design Office

2008 – 2009
Student Research Assistant
Department of History of Architecture, Tianjin University, in Collaboration with Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage Team for Safeguarding Angkor Wat (CSA)

Research Projects+

Urban-Rural Assembly (BMBF)
Habitat Unit, TU Berlin

Since 2014
Dissertation: Thinking of Space Relationally in Chinese Context: The Constitution of the Contemporary Artworld in Beijing (Working Title)
Institute of Sociology, TU Berlin

2012 – 2013
Chinese Historical Walled Town Conservation: Theory and Praxis, commissioned by China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUDP), Department of Urban Planning and Historic City Conservation, funded by Chinese Academy of Urban Planning and Design Annual Research Grant (2012-2013)

Teaching Activities+

WS 2015
Seminar: Space Construction and Communication
Bachelor and master's Course for Architecture, Urban Planning, Design and Sociology Disciplines at TU Berlin


Conference Presentations

(2018) Knowledge(s) of Chinese City: Reflections on Epistemic Ground for Conceptualizing the City, presented at conference, China's New Urban Agenda: An International Dialogue on Sustainable Development, Manchester Urban Institute, UK

(2017) Village-in-the-city, Urban or Rural? Two Perspectives on Urbanity of Caochangdi (Co-author with Lea Rothmann), presented at Workshop, Chinese Urbanities – Relations between Space and Society, Graduate School of East Asian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

(2017) Off the Center: The Canton Experience of Constructing an Art World, presented at DGS Sociology of Arts 2017, Sites of Interest: Exploring the Urban in Art Worlds, TU Berlin

(2015) The Space Production by Contemporary Artists in Beijing: A case study of Caochangdi Art Village, presented at the 12th European Sociological Association (ESA 2015) Conference, Prague

As Organizer

(2017) Co-Organizing Annual Conference of AK Sociology of Art with Dr. Martin Fuller on behalf of German Sociological Association (DGS), TU Berlin

(2016) Co-Organizing Workshop Building Power: Meaning and Materiality in Urban Architecture, Institute of Sociology, TU Berlin


Grants, Awards and Fellowships+

Journal of Town Planning Review (TPR) Bursary
awarded to attend and speak at the young scholar panel at the conference China's New Urban Agenda: An International Dialogue on Sustainable Development, Manchester Urban Institute, UK

2014 – 2018
Chinese Scholarship Council Research Grant
awarded for doctoral research.

Other Projects+

Art Reviews

The Dead Souls: Methodology of Documenting and Revealing the Truth (In Chinese), Art Forum, 2018.5.17

The Construction of the Encounter (In Chinese), Art Forum, 2016.9.22

Meetings of the Fragmentary Bodies (In Chinese), Art Forum, 2016.1.12


Essay Film, "Disneyland is afar, Welcome to Shijingshan", 24min, co-produced with Liuzhang Bolong, exhibited at Hunsand Space, 2017.10, Beijing