ACSP/IACP Karen R. Polenske Best Student Paper Award

AnnouncementPast Recipients


The ACSP/IACP Karen R. Polenske Best Student Paper Award for Outstanding Paper on a China Planning Related Topic, established in honor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Karen R. Polenske – a prominent regional economist and a leading scholar of China’s sustainable development – is given annually to International Association for China Planning (IACP) student members who present excellent research at the ACSP annual conference.

The ACSP/IACP Karen R. Polenske Best Student Paper Award has been made possible by generous donations given by several distinguished individuals who are mostly Professor Polenske’s former students.

The winner of this competition will receive $1,000 USD to cover portions of her/his expenses for conference travel. In the case of two winners, the two winners will share the prize. The student is invited to present their award-winning paper at the ACSP Annual Conference and if available to do so, the winner will be provided waived ACSP conference registration.


  1. be a current IACP student member as of February 28th of the submission year;
  2. be either the sole author or the lead author of a paper;
  3. the paper has been accepted for presentation at the 2024 ACSP Annual Conference (see application information below);
  4. attend and present the paper at the ACSP Annual Conference; and
  5. past winners of the same award are not eligible to apply again.


Application Information

  • Submit a paper abstract to the 2024 ACSP conference. By peer review, the abstract must be accepted for presentation at the conference. The ACSP will advise the committee of your acceptance.
  • Submit the full paper using the ACSP award application online submission form (
  • The IACP award committee will evaluate the full papers submitted based on their innovative scholarship and insight that advance the understanding of China-related planning topics, including but not limited to urbanization, urban economics, housing and community development, environmental planning, land use policy, transportation planning, urban design, analytical methods for urban studies, regional development issues. The full paper submitted should have excellent organization, structure, style, clarity, and originality.


About the 2024 ACSP Conference

The Annual Conference will be held in person in Seattle, WA. Please stay tuned to the website for the most recent updates.


The committee constitutes four current IACP board members. It is established by IACP with consideration of the ACSP President and updated by both.

• Chair:
HE, Sylvia, The Chinese University of Hong Kong,

• Committee members:
LIN, Zhongjie (Jeffrey), University of Pennsylvania,;
HARTEN, Julia, University of British Columbia,;
ZHUANG, Zhixi Cecelia, Toronto Metropolitan University,;


Biography of Karen R. Polenske

Karen R. Polenske is Professor Emeritus and Peter deFlorez Professor of Regional Political Economy at MIT Department of Urban Planning. Since earning her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1966, she conducted energy, environment, and transportation projects in many U.S. regions, including Appalachia, New Orleans, and Los Angeles, as well as outside the United States, including Brazil, China, Iran, and other countries. By the 1990s, her innovative group of collaborators included anthropologists, chemical engineers, energy, environmental, and transportation planners, lawyers, physicists, and public-health scholars. She is well-known as one of the most prominent input-output economists in the world and for her work on regional energy and environmental issues. She is a Fellow of the International Input-Output Association (IIOA) and of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI). She was President of the IIOA (1995-2000) and Head of the International Development and Regional Planning Group in DUSP (1995-2006). Her publications include numerous articles in key economic and planning journals, and eight books, including ‘The Technology-Energy-Environment-Health (TEEH) Chain in China’ and ‘The Economic Geography of Innovation’ that are published both in English and Chinese. She received the 2008 Sloan Industry Studies Best Book Award for the TEEH book.

In 2007, Polenske received special recognition from Rajendra K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for having “contributed substantially to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),” thus contributing to the IPCC’s award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2005 she became a lifetime Regional Science Association International (RSAI) Fellow, in recognition to significant scholarly and research contributions to the field of regional science. In 1999, she received the ACSP Margarita McCoy Award, for her outstanding contribution towards the advancement of women in planning at institutions of higher education through service, teaching, and research, and in 1996 she was awarded the Walter Isard Distinguished Scholar Prize for distinguished long-term achievements in the field of Regional Science.

  • 2023 No award given
  • 2022 No award given
  • 2021 Longfeng Wu, Assistant Professor, Peking University, “Pattern and Process: Exploring Sociospatial (In)equality of Access to Urban Green Space in Beijing”
  • 2020 Julia Harten, University of British Columbia, “Housing Single Women: Gender in China’s Shared Rental Housing Market”
  • 2019 No award given
  • 2018 Zifeng Chen & Anthony G. O. Yeh, University of Hong Kong, “Residential Differentiation of Income Groups and Accessibility Poverty in Urban China: Case Study of Guangzhou”
  • 2017 No award given
  • 2016 Chenghe Guan, Harvard University, “Spatial Distribution of Urban Territories at a Regional Scale: Modeling the Changjiang Delta’s Urban Network”
  • 2015 Qianqi Shen, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, “Negotiating Governance: Central-Local Government Relation in the Establishment of Three Development Zones in China”
  • 2014 Nick Smith, Harvard University, “Negotiating the Power to Plan: Planning and Property Rights at China’s Institutional Edges”