Ziwei Zhang is a first-year Ph.D. student in Urban planning with a focus on the emerging institutions that govern the rural-urban transition in the developing world, particularly in Asia. She is attentive to the agrarian transformation in labor, resources, and state-society relationship that occurs under capitalist development. Her previous work has addressed a range of topics in rural areas. With the support of the Penny White Project Fund, she conducted fieldwork in West Kalimantan, Indonesia to study social forestry against the backdrop of plantation industries and how it has changed the citizen rights-claiming. Her results were presented in the Global Environmental Justice Conference at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She has also conducted historical research investigating the role of town-village enterprises in urban planning in rural China.

Ziwei holds a Master in Landscape Architecture, a Master in Design Studies in Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), and a Bachelor of Architecture from Southeast University, China. She has also experience as an urban designer for one year for Stoss Landscape Urbanism, where she participated in projects in China, the U.S., and the United Arab Emirates.