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Felix Liao

Felix Liao

Associate Professor


McClure Hall 305A



Mailing Address

Department of Geography
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3021
Moscow, ID 83844-3021

Research: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, Urban Planning, Environmental Planning, GIS, Spatial Analysis and Modeling

  • Ph.D. The University of Utah, Geography, 2014
  • M.Phil. The University of Hong Kong, Geography, 2008
  • B.S. Sun Yat-sen University (China), Economic Geography & Planning, 2002

Dr. Haifeng (Felix) Liao is a broadly trained human geographer and a spatial social scientist whose research interests include regional development, globalization, urban sustainability, environmental planning, GIS, spatial analysis and modeling, and China.

Publications (* indicates the corresponding author; student co-authorship is underlined.)  

  • 2019 He, S., Liao, F.H.F., & Li, G.D. A spatiotemporal analysis of the rural-county economy and the multi-mechanism process of regional inequality in rural China. Applied Geography. 
  • 2019. Liao, F.H.F., Gordon, B., DePhelps, C., Saul, D., Fan, C., & Feng, W. A land-based and spatial assessment of local food capacity in Northern Idaho, USA. Land, 8(8), 121.
  • 2019. Fan, C., Johnston, M., Darling, L., Scott, L., & Liao, F.H.F. Land use and socio-economic determinants of urban forest structure and diversity. Landscape and Urban Planning. 181, 10-21
  • 2019. Huang, L., Liao, F.H.F.*, Lohse, K., Larson, D., Fragkias, M., Lybecker, D., Land conservation can mitigate freshwater ecosystem services degradation due to climate change in a semiarid catchment. Science of the Total Environment. 651: 1796-1809.
  • 2018. Liao, F.H.F.and Wei, Y.H.D. Regional Inequality in China: Scales, Mechanisms, and Beyond. 
    in Wu, W.P. and Frazier, M. (Eds), Sage Handbook of Contemporary China. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. 
  • 2018. Castro, A.J., Quintas-Soriano, C., Brandt, J., Atkinson, C.L., Baxter, C.V., Burnham, M., Egoh, B.N., García-Llorente, M., Julian, J.P., Martín-López, B.,Liao, F.H.F., Running, K., Vaughn, C.C., and Norström, A.V. Applying place-based social-ecological research to address water scarcity: Insights for future research. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1516.
  • 2018. Felt, C. Fragkias, M. Larson, D. Liao, F.H.F., Lohse, K. Lybecker, D. and Parsons, S. A comparative study of urban fragmentation patterns in small and mid-sized cities of Idaho. Urban Ecosystems. 
  • 2017. Feng, W. L., Abatzoglou, J., Hicke, J., Liao, F.H.F. Interannual county-level climate-yield relationships for winter wheat on the Columbia Plateau, USA. Climate Research.74 (1), 71-79.
  • 2016. Wei, Y.H.D., Zhang, L., Liao, F.H.F. and Chen, J.L. Urban land use expansion and spatial restructuring in the Yangtze River Delta, China. In J. Man, R. Tao and Y.H. Hong (Eds.), China’s Land Policy and Economic Development, Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
    Wang, M. F., Liao, F.H.F.* Lin, J. Huang, L. et al. The making of a sustainable wireless city? Mapping public Wi-Fi access in Shanghai. Sustainability 8(2), 111
  • 2016. Liao, F.H.F., Wilhelm, F. and Solomon, M. The effects of ambient water quality and Eurasian watermilfoil on lakefront property values in the Coeur d’Alene area of Northern Idaho. Sustainability. 8(1), 44. 
  • 2016. Liao, F.H.F., and Wei, Y.H.D. Space, scale, and regional inequality in provincial China: A spatial filtering approach. Applied Geography. 61, 94–104.
  • 2015.Li, H., Wei, Y.H.D, Liao, F.H.F., and Wang, Z. Administrative hierarchy and urban land expansion in transitional China. Applied Geography, 56, 177–186.
    2015. Liao, F.H.F., Farber, S. and Ewing, R. Compact development and preference heterogeneity in residential location choice behaviour: A latent class analysis. Urban Studies (in press).
  • 2014 Liao, F.H.F. and Wei, Y.H.D. Modeling determinants of urban growth in Dongguan, China: A spatial logistic approach. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, 28, 801-816.
  • 2013 Liao, F.H.F. and Wei, Y.H.D. TNCs’ technology linkages with domestic firms: An investigation of the ICT Industry in Suzhou, China. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 33(1), 460-474.
  • 2013 Wei, Y.H.D. and Liao, F.H.F.The embeddedness of TNCs in Chinese cities: Strategic coupling in global production networks? Habitat International, 40, 82-90.
  • 2013 Wei, Y.H.D., Yuan, F., and Liao, F.H.F. Spatial mismatch and determinants of foreign and domestic information and communication technology firms in urban China. The Professional Geographer, 65(2), 247-264.
  • 2012 Liao, F.H.F. and Wei, Y.H.D. Dynamics, space, and regional inequality in provincial China: A case study of Guangdong Province. Applied Geography, 35(1–2), 71-83.
  • 2011 Liao, F.H.F. and Chan, R.C.K. Industrial relocation of Hong Kong manufacturing firms: Towards an expanding industrial space beyond the Pearl River Delta. GeoJournal, 76 (6), 623-639.
  • 2010 Yang C. and Liao, F.H.F. Backward linkages of cross-border production networks of Taiwanese PC investment in the Pearl River Delta, China. Tijdschriftvoor Economische en Sociale Geografie (TESG, Journal of Social and Economic Geography), 101(2), 199-217.
  • 2010 Yang, C. and Liao, F.H.F. Industrial agglomeration of Hong Kong and Taiwanese manufacturing investment in China: A town level analysis in Dongguan. The Annals of Regional Science, 45(3), 487-517.
  • 2009. Liao, F.H.F. Industrial agglomeration of Taiwanese electronics firms in Dongguan, China: A town-level analysis. Asian Geographer, 26, 1–21. 
  • 2008. Yang, C. and Liao, F.H.F. Urban and regional development of the Pan-Pearl River Delta. In Y.M. Yeung and J. F. Shen (Eds.), The Pan-Pearl River Delta: An Emerging Regional Economy in Globalizing China, Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press.


  • 2018-2021.United States Department of Agriculture. Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Fundamental Program. PI. Scaling up local fruit and vegetable production in the Inland Northwest: Overcoming constraints for sustainable agricultural development. 
  • 2016-2020. NSF. Innovations in Food-Water-Energy Nexus (INFEWS). Social-ecological-technological solutions to waste reuse in food, energy, and water systems (ReFEWS). Senior Personnel. 


  • 2014-2019. Serving local and regional markets in the Intermountain west: Identifying and overcoming constraints in a vast geography. $500,000. Co-I.
  • 2015-2017. Idaho NSF-EPSCoR MILES, iSEED type I. Towards ONE Idaho: An investigation of social-ecological system boundaries and domains across MILES sites. Co-PI/Institutional PI. 
  • 2016-2017. United States Department of Transportation. Hazardous materials commodity flow in northern Idaho. PI. (Subcontract with Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho) 
  • 2015-2016. Idaho NSF-EPSCoR MILES, iSEED type II. A bibliometric analysis of the research on urban ecosystem services: frameworks, approaches, and geographical settings. PI.

  • Regional Economic Analysis
  • GIS Spatial Analysis
  • Land Use
  • Urban Planning

  • Chinese Government Scholarship for Outstanding Self-financed Students Studying Abroad. 2014
  • Travel Award, China Geography Specialty Group (CGSG), AAG. 2013
  • Outstanding Student Research Award, Department of Geography, University of Utah. 2013
  • Ashok K. Dutt Best Graduate Student Paper Award, Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group (RDPSG), AAG. 2012
  • Travel Award, US Foreign Policy Colloquium, National Committee for US-China Relations. 2012
  • Third Place Prize, College of Social and Behavioral Science (CSBS) Graduate Student Research Day Paper Competition, University of Utah. 2011


Physical Address:
McClure Hall 201

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3021
Moscow, ID 83844-3021

Phone: 208-885-6216


Web: Department of Geography