History of Road Construction in Chinese East Himalayas: An Integrated Study

Collaborative Group

Dr. Jia Lu, Professor Yongming Zhou




Once constructed, roads become a permanent part of the landscape and exert social and ecological impacts on both human society and the environment. The existing compartmentalized approach concerning roads is unsatisfactory in understanding the dynamic of human activities, natural environment, and cultural constitution. This project adopts an integrated approach, called “roadology,” in order to provide a comprehensive study of the multifaceted impact of mass-scale road construction on the Tibetan and other ethnic communities in the East Himalayan area since the 1950s. Jia Lu, a junior geographer and GIS specialist, and Yongming Zhou, a senior anthropologist and ethno-historian, aim to bridge traditional humanistic and social science methods with the cutting-edge technologies of GIS. Their first-time collaboration will culminate in the construction of a comprehensive online Historical GIS that will be accessible and easily disseminate findings to researchers, teachers, and the worldwide public and the publication of a monograph on the history of road construction in Tibet by Zhou and several articles on the GIS and spatial analysis by Lu. Award period: July 1, 2011 – August 31, 2013