NI Minqing

Researcher at Center for Italian Studies of Tongji University (CSIUT)

PhD, Associate professor of College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University;Executive Director, Tongji DESIS Lab(Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability); Member of Design Research Society

Brief Introduction

Ni’s research and practices focus on social innovation and how to use design intervention strategies to respond to spatial, system and social changes. Recently, her research also focuses on the mechanism of collaborative governance for digital transformation. She led the Tongji DESIS Lab and won the award of 2019 Shanghai May Fourth Youth Medal (collective). Ni is the founder of Open Your Space, which is an ongoing research and design project and become a Shanghai urban renewal pilot project. The project explores an urban community that contains physical spaces with social and cultural significance in Chinese urban context, as well as to explore and practice how design intervention collectively shape the public realm to maximize shared value and catalysis in the built environment. She is the chief editor of the book Open your space: Design for Urban Resilience which was published by Tongji University Press in 2017. Recently, she has awarded two grants funded by Shanghai Decision Advisory Committee (PI), and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which she as Chinese Co-Investigator, collaborated with Brunel University London. 

Research direction

  • Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability, Urban Resilience, Digital Transformation.


  • Undergraduate course: Design studio 2, Design studio 3

  • Postgraduate course: Narrative Environment and Placemaking


  • PhD in Architecture, Tongji University

  • Narrative Environments MA at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London

  • Visiting Professor at Parsons School of Design in New York

  • Postgraduate course: Narrative Environment and Placemaking

Work Experience

  • 2012 – present, Teaching at College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University

  • 2005-2009 The Design Institute of Landscape & Architecture, China Academy of Art

Publications (selected)

  1. Ni, M.,& Zhu, M.(2017). Open your space: Design for Urban Resilience. Shanghai: Tongji University Press.

  2. Ni, M., & Cattaneo,T.(2019). Design for Urban Resilience: A Case of Community-led Placemaking Approach in Shanghai China. In Rau.P(Eds.), Cross-Cultural Design (11th International Conference Proceedings, HCI International 2019)(pp.207-222). Orlando,USA: Springer International Publishing. (EI)

  3. Ni, M. (2017). Open Your Space: A Design Activism Initiative in Chinese Urban Community. In Rau.P(Eds.), Proceeding of HCI International 2017(pp. 42–64). Vancouver, Canada: Springer International Publishing. (EI)

  4. Giorgi, E., Cattaneo,T., Ni, M., & Enríquez, R.(2020). Sustainability and Effectiveness of Chinese Outline for National Tourism and Leisure. Sustainability, 12(3), 1161.

  5. Cattaneo,T., Giorgi,E.,& Ni, M.(2019).Landscape, Architecture and Environmental Regeneration: A Research by Design Approach for Inclusive Tourism in a Rural Village in China. Sustainability, 11(1), 128.

  6. Cattaneo, T., Giorgi, E., Ni, M., & Manzoni, G.D.(2016).Sustainable Development of Rural Areas in the EU and China: A Common Strategy for Architectural Design, Research Practice and Decision-Making. Buildings, 6(4):42.

Research and Design Projects

  • 2021.5-2021.10, award a grant under the Digital Transformation theme funded by Shanghai Decision Advisory Committee (PI)

  • 2018.10-2021.9, Fostering creative citizens in China through co-design and public makerspaces, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). (Chinese Co-Investigator)

  • Guest editor, Special Issue “Environmental Futures: Creative Explorations Through Science, Engineering, Design, and Art", in Designs, MDPI (indexed in Scopus)

  • Reasearch Team member, Design for Vulnerables international research project, collaborated with Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico.


  • Project manager, 2019 International workshop, LYON CITY DEMAIN, France.

  • 2015- present, Open your space project, founder.

  • 2019.3-2020.2, Shanghai Yuyuan road urban renewal design strategy research project(PI)

  • Reviewer of ServDes2018 conference at the Politecnico di Milano.

  • Shanghai Playscape project, design director.

  • Chief visual communication design of Pavilion of China at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia.

  • Architecture China Foundation VI designer.

  • Co-curator, 2014 Shanghai biennale.

  • Co-curator, 2013 Shenzhen• Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture.

  • Curator, A Geographical Space of Encounter: Mapping the Landscape of the Belt and Road Initiative, 2019 Shanghai Urban Space Art Season.

  • Open your space project exhibited at 2019 The Saint-Étienne International design biennale.

  • Open your space project exhibited China National Pavilion, XXII Triennale di Milano.(2019 broken nature).

  • Keynote speaker at 2018 Singapore design week.

  • Director, SUSAS Collage, 2018 Shanghai Urban Space Art Season.

  • Curator, Design Shanghai, 2016 Milan design week.

  • Keynote speaker, Human Cities conference, 2018 Milan Design week.

  • Curator, Land Art Installation Festival in Yangchenghu 2016.

Honors and Awards

  • 2020 First Prize of Tongji University Teaching Achievement Award.

  • 2020 Hongda Award of Tongji University.

  • 2020 "Better Life" Yangtze River Delta Public Cultural Space Innovative Design Competition, Top Ten Designers.

  • Leading the Tongji DESIS Lab won the 2019 Shanghai May Fourth Youth Medal (collective).

  • Designer of Shanghai Playscape, won the finalist of 2019 SEGD Global Design Awards, finalist of THE PLAN Awards, exhibited at Biennale Spazio Pubblico 2019.

  • Supervisor of The Red Stairs, won the 2018 SEGD Global Design Awards and Sylvia Harris Award.

  • 2018 Tongji University Yucai Education Second Prize

  • 2020 Shanghai the most beautiful family Award.

  • 2019 Shanghai the most beautiful family Award in Yangpu District.

  • 2016 "Sustainable Design" Shanghai Excellent Course