Ali Cheshmehzangi

Head of Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design

Architecture and Built Environment / Faculty of Science and Engineering
Staff Profile Portrait Image



Room 429, Sir Peter Mansfield Building


University of Nottingham Ningbo China


199 Taikang East Road, Ningbo, 315100, China


+86 (0) 574 8818 0000 (ext. 9237)


PhD in Architecture (UoN), specialising in Urban Design;

Master of Architecture/M.Arch in Urban Design, with Distinction (UoN);

Postgraduate Certificate PGCHE (Higher Education Academy, UK);

Graduate Certificate in Professional Studies in Architecture, RIBA;

Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Architecture, RIBA


Expertise Summary

Professor Ali Cheshmehzangi is Head of the Department of Architecture and Built Environment. He is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, focusing on research and teaching in the fields of sustainable urbanism, urban transitions/experimental city studies, and urban design. He is an architectural and urban designer/urbanist by profession, with qualifications, practice experience, and research profile in urban design, sustainable urban planning, and development. He is also Director of Urban Innovation Lab (UIL), focused on three themes of urban data, urban climate, and urban planning and design. Since January 2018, he is also Director of Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET).

Previously, Ali has held several university-level administrative and managerial roles, such as Advisory Committee member for Student Experience and Engagement, Deputy Warden, the University’s Strategic Regional Representative for Africa and the Middle East, Research Priority Group co-lead in IAPS (on Contemporary Challenges of China), Head of Research Group, and the Academic Director of Nottingham Advantage Award (NAA). The latter is the largest teaching and learning platform across our three campuses in the UK, Malaysia, and China.

Currently, Ali works on two research projects on integrated and information-based city modelling (funded by NSFC), and sustainable urbanism. He is completing is a project on urban regeneration in China, and is Co-I of two on-going projects. Prior to these, he completed three local funding projects and one NSFC project. From 2014 to 2017, he has worked on eco- and smart- city transitions, a multi-lateral research projects between China and four EU countries (see, funded by NSFC and ESRC). Before this large project, he has worked on a variety of research projects on energy and cooling in housing and urban design (see, funded by EPSRC, DFID, and DECC), low-carbon town planning projects in China (funded by Ningbo Economic Reform Commission), urban modelling of residential neighbourhoods (local government fund), eco-city development (External collaborative project), urban pattern analysis, smart CBD development, and studies related to the green infrastructure of cities particularly in the context of developing countries. In 2015, he developed a comprehensive planning toolkit, called ‘Integrated Assessment of City Enhancement (iACE)’, which is utilised particularly for planners and policymakers. In 2016, he coined the term ‘Eco-Fusion’, which was later used in teaching the vertical studios. In February 2020, he developed the first comprehensive resilience toolkit for cities facing the pandemic. This was given to the City of Ningbo, and led into many global/national and local news coverage, including in ChinaDaily, Xinhua, Local News, Local TV, etc.

Ali's current focus is on sustainable urbanism and urban transitions (eco-, low carbon-, smart-, green-, sponge-, etc.) and their implications in policy and practice, mostly in the context of China.



Ali has six published books, and is currently working on his seventh book on the topic of ‘Sustainable Urbanism’. His published books are:

(1) CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2020) The City in Need: Urban Resilience and City Management in Disruptive Disease Outbreak Events, Springer, Singapore, 9 June 2020 (First published full monograph related to COVID-19 Outbreak). (LINK:

(2) CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2020) Identity of Cities and City of Identities, Springer, Germany and Singapore, April 2020 (LINK:

(3) CHESHMEHZANGI, A., and Dawodu, A. (2018). Sustainable Urban Development in the Age of Climate Change – People: The Cure or Curse, Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, Singapore and Germany. (LINK:

(4) Deng, W., and CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2018). Eco-Development in China: Cities, Communities, and Buildings, Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, Singapore and Germany – Award winning book – awarded by Springer Nature on 22 August 2019 in Beijing. (LINK:

(5) CHESHMEHZANGI, A., and Butters, C. (2017). Designing Cooler Cities: Energy, Cooling, and Urban Form – The Asian Perspective, Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, Singapore and Germany, November 2017. (LINK:

(6) Tan-Mullins, M., CHESHMEHZANGI, A., Chien, S., and Xie, L. (2016). Smart Eco-Cities in China: Trends and City Profiles 2016, Exeter University Publishers, Exeter, UK (Country project book from research on smart eco-cities), published in January 2017.

Serving as a Reviewer for International Journals, including:

Journal of Cities; Journal of Urbanism; Journal of Urban Affairs; Applied Energy; Landscape and Planning Energy Policy; Climate Dynamics; Journal of Cleaner Production; Building Research & Information; Urban Design International; Journal of Urban Design; Journal of Sustainability; Journal of Energy and Buildings; Journal of Building and Environment; Int’l Journal of Sustainable Built Environment; Journal of Building Construction and Planning Research.


Academic year 2019-20:

Integrated Design in Architecture 3 (IDA3), People, Buildings and Landscapes, Practice and Management, Urban Design Theory. He also supervise AEE students in the final research projects.

Ali has extensive experience in teaching design studios, leading design studio units, integrated design modules in years 1, 2, and 3, as well as environmental design modules.

Previously Ali has taught several other modules in both Architecture and AEE programmes at UNNC and UNUK, including: Environmental Design/Science 1 and 2; Integrated Design 1, 2A, 2B and 3; Performance Construction Materials for AEE; Architectural Tectonics, Design Studio 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, and 3, Design studio year 5, Design studio year 6, Sustainable Urban Design, Tall Building Design, and Architectural Research Methods.

Supervised PhD students to completion:

  • Ayotunde Dawodu (Completed in 2019), topic on development of NSAT for the African Context, Case of Lagos, Nigeria, now a full-time member of staff at UNNC;
  • Linjun Xie (Completed in 2019), topic on political ecology of eco-city development in China, now working at Durham University, UK.
  • Felix Osebor (Completed in 2020), topic on Accessibility, transportation, and Urban Sustainability, starting a new position in Jiangsu province.
  • Jing Sun (Completed in 2020), topic on Stormwater management at town planning level: GIS-based modelling for Sponge City Development, working in a local university in Ningbo.

I also supervise and co-supervise 8 PhD students on topics related to urban sustainability, urban transition, nature-based solutions, urban land management, integrated urban modelling, and sustainable development.

Research interests

Research Interests and Expertise

A Selection of Recent Research Projects:

  • Integrated City Information Modelling (iCIM): Innovating an advanced multiple urban modelling platform, funded by NSFC (2020-21), PI (on-going);
  • Ningbo Specific Passive House Technical Guidance, funded by Ningbo Science and Technology Bureau (2019-21), Co-I (on-going);
  • Organic Urban Regeneration in Ningbo (Research and exploration on the comprehensive utilization of the Sangjia block桑家地块综合利用研究), Ningbo Yinzhou District (2018-20), PI (on-going);
  • The Nexus between Sponge-City and Stormwater Management, IAPS funding (2020), PI (Completed);
  • Innovation for Sustainable City: Integrating Nature-Based Solutions in China’s Eco-Development, NSFC (2019-20), PI (Completed);
  • Optimisation of the CSET’s Building Management System (BMS), Internal Faculty fund (2019-20), PI (Completed);
  • Promoting International Collaboration for Urban Innovations and Digital Technologies Platform at UNNC, Provost’s international collaborative grant (2018), PI (Completed);
  • Evaluating China’s 13th Five-Year-Plan for Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Development and suggesting policy directions for 14th Five-Year-Plan, NDRC (2018-19), PI and Team Leader (Completed);
  • Sustainable and Resilient Cities, RPA Seed Funding, UNUK (2017-18), PI (Completed);
  • IAPS Start-up Support for External Funding, IAPS funding (2019), PI (Completed);
  • Policy and Mechanism Study for Activating and Utilising the Abandoned Rural Houses in Taogong Island, Dongqian Lake (2017-18) – PI (Completed);
  • Environmental Assessment Standard for Advanced Sustainability of Ningbo City Planning and Management, funded by Ningbo Soft Science Research (2017-18), PI (Completed);
  • Urban Innovations Project (2017-18) – PI (Completed);
  • Teaching and Learning Grant for Social Media and Teaching Methods – Funded by UoN, UK (2017-18) – Principle Investigator (Completed);
  • Smart eco-cities for a green economy: a comparative study of Europe and China – funded by NSFC-ESRC, Led by Exeter University/King’s College London, UK (2015-18) – Co-Investigator (Completed); (Including: China, France, Germany, the Netherland, and the UK);
  • Green Building and KPI Development, China – funded by Ningbo Local Government (2016-17) – Co-Investigator (Completed);
  • Sponge City Development for the City of Ningbo, China – funded by Ningbo Local Government (2016-17) – Research Member (Completed);
  • Teaching and Learning Grant for Urban Design Project – Funded by UoN, UK (2016-17) – Principle Investigator (Completed);
  • Applied Research in VR Education for Silk Road: Technology Acceptance Study for Historical, Cultural Content, IAPS funding (2017-18), Co-I (Completed);
  • Utilising Old Concrete from Demolished Buildings for New Applications in Ningbo – funded by Ningbo the Benefit of People, Technology R&D Scheme (2015-16) – Co-Investigator (Completed);
  • Energy and Low-Income Tropical Housing (ELITH) - funded by EPSRC-DFID-DECC in the UK, Led by Warwick University, UK (2013-16) – PI-China and Project Partner (Completed);
  • Strategic Pathways to Low Carbon Town Planning: A Feasibility Study – funded by Ningbo Local Government (2014-15) – Co-Investigator (Completed);
  • Bringing Back ‘Vanishing Realities’: Recording and Preserving Chinese Rural Livelihoods and Traditional Housing – Funded by IDIC-FoSE at UNNC (2014-15) – PI (Completed);
  • Revitalising Living Qualities in Decaying Rural Areas of China – funded by CASCADE Grant, UoN, UK (2014-15) – PI (Completed);
  • Scoping Study Reviewing National and International Initiatives and Programs for Eco-Cities – Funded by FoSE at UNNC (2014-15) – Co-Investigator (Completed);
  • Rural Community Survey and Analysis in the Region of Ningbo – funded by UNNC and Ningbo Planning Team (2014) – Project Research Member (Completed);
  • Feasibility Study for Urban Growth and Development in Developing Countries – funded by FoSE (2013-14) – PI (Completed);
  • Toolkit for Resilient Cities: Infrastructure, Technology and Urban Planning – Funded by Rockefeller Foundation, Led by Arup and Siemens (2012-13) – Project Research Member (Completed);
  • Growth Management for the Rapidly-approaching Urbanisation in the Developing countries – funded by FoSE, UNNC (2012-13) – PI (Completed);
  • Cao Feidian Eco-City Project in China – funded by RCUK-China Office (2009-10), led by UoN, UK – Research Member (completed).


Recent publications

To date, Ali has published 20+ book chapters, 65 journal papers, 70+ conference papers and/or presentations, 40+ technical reports, 35 concept notes, 5 policy documents, and several major reports.  

35 Selected Recent Journal Papers (out of 65 papers):

  1. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.* (2020) COVID-19 and the small Commonwealth Oceania countries: promising regional co-ordination, Journal of Roundtable, Vol. 110, Issue 4, 2 pages.
  2. Li, L., Collins, A. M., CHESHMEHZANGI, A., Chan. F. (2020) Identifying enablers and barriers to the implementation of the Green Infrastructure for urban flood management: A comparative analysis of the UK and China, Journal of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, July 2020, 18 pages.
  3. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.* (2020) The Analysis of Global Warming Patterns from 1970s to 2010s, Atmospheric and climate Sciences, Vol. 12, 16 pages.
  4. Deng, W., CHESHMEHZANGI, A.*, Ma, Y., Peng, Z. (2020) Promoting sustainability through governance of eco-city indicators: a multi-spatial perspective, International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies, Vol. 10, 13 pages.
  5. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.* (2020) 10 Adaptive Measures for Public Places to face the COVID 19 Pandemic Outbreak, City & Society, Special Issue, 15 pages.
  6. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.* (2020) Blame Games will not help contain outbreak, China Daily, 2 pages.
  7. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.*, and Dawodu, A. (2020) Passive Cooling Energy Systems: Holistic SWOT Analyses for Achieving Urban Sustainability, International Journal of Sustainable Energy, Vol. 39 (6), 21 pages.
  8. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.*, Dawodu, A., Song, W., Shi, Y., and Wang, Y. (2020) An Introduction to Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment Tool (NSAT) Study for China from Comprehensive Analysis of Eight Asian Tools, Sustainability, Vol. 12 (6), 19 pages.
  9. Sun, J., CHESHMEHZANGI, A.*, and Wang. S. (2020) Green Infrastructure Practice and a Sustainability Key Performance Indicators Framework for Neighbourhood-Level Construction of Sponge City Programme, Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 11 (2), 21 pages.
  10. Dawodu, A., CHESHMEHZANGI, A., and Williams, A. (2019) Expert-initiated integrated approach to development of Sustainability Indicators for Neighbourhood Sustainability Assessment Tools: An African perspective, Journal of Cleaner Production, 240, 22 pp.
  11. Teo, H. C., Lechner, A. *, Walton, G., Chan, F., CHESHMEHZANGI, A., Tan-Mullins, M., Chan, H.K., Sternberg, T., and Campos-Arceiz, A. (2019) Infrastructure development under the Belt & Road Initiative – characteristics and need for an interdisciplinary and multiscale approach to address its environmental impacts, Environments, 22 pages.
  12. Xie, L., Flynn, A., Tan-Mullins, M., and CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2019) The making and remaking of ecological space in China: The political ecology of Chongming Eco-Island, Political Geography, 69, 14 pages.
  13. Xie, L., Flynn, A., Tan-Mullins, M., and CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2019) Water and land: environmental governance and Chinese eco-development, Journal of Cleaner Production, 221: 839-853, 14 pages.
  14. Jin, R., Gao, S., CHESHMEHZANGI, A., and Aboagye-Nimo, E. (2018) A Holistic Review of off-site Construction Literature Published between 2008 and 2018, Journal of Cleaner Production, 202: 1202-1219, Nov 2018, 18 pages.
  15. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2018) The Changing Urban Landscape of Chinese Cities: Positive and Negative Impacts of Urban Design Controls on Contemporary Urban Housing, Journal of Sustainability, 10(8):2839, Aug 2018, 21 pages.
  16. Xie, L., CHESHMEHZANGI, A.*, Tan-Mullins, M., Flynn, A., and Heath, T. (2019) Urban entrepreneurialism and sustainable development: a comparative analysis of Chinese eco-developments, Journal of Urban Technology, Nov 2019, 24 pages.
  17. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2018) The Changing Urban Landscape of Chinese Cities: Positive and Negative Impacts of Urban Design Controls on Contemporary Urban Housing, Journal of Sustainability, 10(8):2839, Aug 2018, 21 pages.
  18. Dawodu, A., CHESHMEHZANGI, A., and Akinwolemiwa, B. (2018) The Systematic Selection of Headline Sustainable Indicators for the development of Future Neighbourhood Sustainability Assessment Tools for Africa, Journal of Sustainable Cities and Society, 41, pp. 760-776, Aug 2018, 17 pages.
  19. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.*, Xie, L., and Tan-Mullins, M. (2017) The role of international actors in low-carbon transitions of Shenzhen's International Low Carbon City in China, Journal of Cities, Published Nov 2017.
  20. Raven, R., Senger, F., Spath, P., Xie, L., CHESHMEHZANGI, A., and de Jong, M. (2017) Urban experimentation and institutional arrangements, Journal of European Planning Studies, Published Oct 2017.
  21. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.*, Zhu, Y., and Li, B. (2017) Application of Environmental Performance Analysis for Urban Design with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and EcoTect tools: The Case of Cao Fei Dian, International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment, Published March 2017.
  22. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.* and Ornsby, P. (2016) Augmented Locality: Study of Different Models of Urban Screens and their Application in Public Places as New Networks of the City, Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, Published Autumn 2017.
  23. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2016) Multi-spatial environmental performance evaluation towards integrated urban design: A procedural approach with computational simulations, Journal of Cleaner Production, Published December 2016.
  24. Dawodu, A., Akinwolemiwa, B. and CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2016) A conceptual re-visualization of sustainability pathways for the development of Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment Tools (NSATs), Journal of Sustainable Cities and Society, Published Nov 2016.
  25. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.*, and Thomas, S. M. (2016) Prioritising Accessible Transit Systems for Sustainable Urban Development: Understanding and Evaluating the Parameters of Transportation System in Mumbai, Journal of Urban Planning and Development, Published Summer 2016.
  26. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.* and Butters, C. (2016) Chinese Urban Residential Blocks: Towards Improved Environmental and Living Qualities, Journal of Urban Design International, Published August 2016.
  27. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.* and Butters, C. (2016) Sustainable Living and Urban Density: The Choices are Wide Open, Energy Procedia, Summer 2016.
  28. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2016) Feasibility Study of Songao's Low Carbon Town Planning, China, Energy Procedia, Summer 2016.
  29. CHESHMEHZANGI, A.* (2016) Temporary and Temporality: Public Realm Regeneration through Temporary Events, Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, Vol. 9.
  30. Shen, J., Zhang, X., Yang, T., Tang, L., CHESHMEHZANGI, A., Wu, Y., Huang, G., Zhong, D., Xu, P. and Liu, S. (2016) Characteristic study of a novel compact Solar Thermal Facade (STF) with internally extruded pin–fin flow channel for building integration, Journal of Applied Energy, Published April 2016.
  31. Hashemi, A., Cruickshank, H. and CHESHMEHZANGI. A. (2015) Environmental Impacts and Embodied Energy of Construction Methods and Materials in Low-Income Tropical Housing, Sustainability, 7 (6), pp. 7866-7883;
  32. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2015) Regenerating the Urban: Evaluation of Policy Actions for Strategic Urban Changes in Two UK Cities of Derby and Nottingham, Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, Vol. 8, No. 4.
  33. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2015) Urban Identity as a Global Phenomenon: Hybridity and Contextualisation of Urban Identities, Journal of Human Behaviour in the Social Environment, Vol. 25, No. 1.
  34. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2014) Spatial Syntagma and Identity of a Place: Sensing, Relating to and knowing a Place, Journal of Human Behaviour in the Social Environment, Vol. 24, No. 7, pp. 799-810.
  35. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2014) The Urban and Urbanism: China’s New Urbanization and Approaches towards Comprehensive Development, The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, The Social Sciences Collection, Vol. 8, Issue 3-4, pp.1-12.

Conference presentations

Workshops, Seminars and Keynote Speeches:

15 Selected Recent Events (2018-20):

  1. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2020) Urban Resilience around COVID-19: Lessons from China, Resilience First, London, UK.
  2. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2020) Resilience Enhancement for Cities and Communities during the Outbreak, China-EU Webinar on COVID-19, Porto, Portugal.
  3. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2019) Eco Standards in China: Story of Three Development Stages before Innovations, Hangzhou Government, China.
  4. Invited talk: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2019) China’s Urbanization Plan: The import and export of Urbanization patterns and Urban Transitions, at Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
  5. Invited talk: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2019) Cities in Transition: Examples of Eco-, Green-, Smart-, Sponge-, and Low Carbon- transformations in China, Shanghai, China.
  6. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2019) Urban Water Management through network-based urban planning approach, at Tianjin University, Tianjin, China.
  7. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2018) The Role of Urban Design in facing Climate Change Impacts on Cities, invited for keynote delivery at the 11th International Urban Design Conference, held in Sydney, Australia, 11-14th of Nov 2018.
  8. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2018) Urban Design in the Age of Climate Change, Invited for keynote delivery at Environmental Futures workshop, at Tongji University, Shanghai, China, Oct 2018.
  9. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2018) Cities and Climate Impact: Where ‘People’ Sit?, keynote at the 8th Low Carbon Development Global Submit, Qingdao, China, Oct 2018.
  10. Author’s session Talk: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Butters, C. (2018) Book Introduction Session: "Designing Cooler Cities", Authors’ sessions, in Human Development and Social Inclusion in an Urbanizing World, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug 2018.
  11. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2018) Sustainable Urban Development
    and Climate Change: A bottom-up perspective, keynote delivery at Study Space event, held in Singapore, June 2018.
  12. Sub-Forum Session: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (with colleagues from China, South Africa and the UK) (2018) Session on Experimental City and Urban Sustainability, the 9th World Urban Forum (WUF 09), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Feb 2018.
  13. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2018) Eco and smart urban transitions towards sustainable urbanism, in the EU event on CommBeBiz, Budapest, Hungary, Feb 2018.
  14. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2018) Eco-Development Directions in China: Future Urbanism in the hands of Innovation?, in the Ecological Civilization and the Food-Agri-Water-Environment Nexus, Guangzhou, China, 8-9 January 2018.
  15. Keynote: CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2017) Urban Innovations and Future City Directions: Green, Smart, or Resilient?, 2017 Forum on Innovative Development of Ningbo City Construction, Ningbo, China, 8th of December 2017.