University of Nottingham Ningbo China
Faculty of
Science and Engineering
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Dr Ali Cheshmehzangi

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


PhD in Architecture (UoN), specialising in Urban Design;
Master of Architecture/M.Arch in Urban Design, with Distinction in both Masters and PG Diploma (UoN);
Postgraduate Certificate PGCHE (Education Academy, UK);
Graduate Certificate in Professional Studies in Architecture, RIBA;
Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Architecture, RIBA


Ali Cheshmehzangi 2018


Expertise Summary

Dr Ali Cheshmehzangi is the Head of Department of Architecture and Built Environment. He is also Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, focusing on research and teaching in the fields of sustainable urbanism, urban transitions/experimental city studies, and urban patterns. 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), a new R&D set-up focusing on three themes of urban data, urban climate, and urban planning and design. This new research set-up is based on the previously developed platform of ‘International Network for Urban and Rural Research (INURR)' in Ningbo, China.

For his other university-level admin roles, he is the University’s Strategic Regional Representative for Africa and the Middle East and Academic Director of Nottingham Advantage Award (NAA). The latter is a major teaching and learning platform across the three campuses in the UK, Malaysia and China. At UNNC, we NAA includes about 35 modules across all faculties, and with more than 1,000 students. Ali is also associate research member of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET) at UNNC and University of Nottingham’s RPA for Sustainable and Resilient Cities. He is also the co-lead member of a university-wide research unit, titled ‘Contemporary Challenges of China’, under the Institute for Asian and Pacific Studies (IAPS). As for his external roles, he is committee member of Urban Culture Network (UCN) and members of several other global urban-related groups.

In recent years, he has worked on eco- and smart- city transitions, a multi-lateral research projects between China and four EU members (see, funded by NSFC and ESRC). Prior to this, 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, urban modelling of residential neighbourhoods, eco-city development, urban pattern analysis, smart CBD development, and studies related to 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 policy makers. In 2016, he coined the term ‘Eco-Fusion’, which was later used in teaching the vertical studios.

Ali’s research interests are in the fields of urban design and planning, exploring themes of ‘Sustainable Urbanism’, ‘Urban Regeneration’, ‘Urban Housing and blocks’ and ‘Integrated Urban Design’. His passion in urbanisation and urban growth in the context of China and developing countries has led him to explore and understand the implications and possibilities in design and planning systems and models. Ali's current focus is on studies of city labelling (eco-, low carbon-, smart-, green-, sponge-and etc.) and their implications in policy and practice.



Ali has recently published a book with Chris Butters (from Warwick and Oslo Universities), titled ‘Designing Cooler Cities – Energy, Cooling and Urban Form: The Asian Perspective’ (e-copy in Nov 2017, and hardcopy in Dec 2017 – Palgrave Macmillan). He is also co-author of a forthcoming book with Wu Deng (from UNNC), titled ‘Eco Development in China: Cities, Communities, and Buildings’ (due to publication in April/May 2018, final version submitted in Nov 2017).



Academic year 2016-17:

Studio Leader of ‘Eco-Fusion’ UNIT - Design Studio 2 and 3 (Architecture);
Module convenor for Integrated Design in Architecture 3 (Architecture).

With teaching contributions to EE1 IDA, EE2 IDA, EE2 IDB.

Previously Ali has taught several other modules in both Architecture and AEE programmes at UNNC, including: Environmental Design/Science 1 and 2; Integrated Design 1, 2A, 2B and 3; Performance Construction Materials for AEE; Architectural Tectonics, and Design Studio 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, and 3.


Research Interests and Expertise

Recent Research Projects:

  • Policy and Mechanism Study for Activating and Utilising the Abandoned Rural Houses in Taogong Island, Dongqian Lake (2017-18) – PI (completing);
  • Sustainable Neighborhood Assessment for Ningbo (2017-18), funded by Ningbo Soft Science Research - (PI);
  • Urban Innovations Project (2017-18) – PI;
  • Teaching and Learning Grant for Social Media and Teaching Methods – Funded by UoN, UK (2017-18) – Principle Investigator;
  • 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 (completing in April 2018)
    (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;
  • Teaching and Learning Grant for Urban Design Project – Funded by UoN, UK (2016-17) – Principle Investigator (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

Book Chapters:

1. Hashemi, A., Cruickshank, H. and CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2015) Environmental Impacts and Embodied Energy of Construction Methods and Materials in Low-Income Tropical Housing, in Naguchi, M. (eds.) ZEMCH Research Initiatives: Mass Customisation and Sustainability, MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland, ISBN 978-3-03842-112-2 (electronic); ISBN 978-3-03842- 111-5 (print) – 254 pages in total.

2. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2015) Improvement of Urban Housing Blocks in China: The Comparative Cases of Design Optimisation, in Wilkinson, S. P., Xia, J. and Chen, B. (eds.) Sustainable Buildings and Structure, Oxon: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, pp. 233-38. ISBN: 978-1-315-64713-5 (as an eBook and a hard copy).


20 Selected Journal Papers (out of +45 journal papers and 35+ conference Proceedings in total):

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Butters, C. (2016) Chinese Urban Residential Blocks: Towards Improved Environmental and Living Qualities, Journal of Urban Design International, Published August 2016.
  9. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Butters, C. (2016) Sustainable Living and Urban Density: The Choices are Wide Open, Energy Procedia, Summer 2016.
  10. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2016) Feasibility Study of Songao's Low Carbon Town Planning, China, Energy Procedia, Summer 2016.
  11. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2016) Temporary and Temporality: Public Realm Regeneration through Temporary Events, Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, Vol. 9.
  12. 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.
  13. 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;
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Deng, W. and CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Yang, T. (2015) Environmental Implications of Privatised Public Space in Gated Residential Neighbourhood: Case study of China’s Small Residential District, International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, Vol. 5, No. 11, pp. 944-47. (online in August 2014).
  19. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2012) Identity and Public Realm, Elsevier Procedia: Social and Behavioural Sciences, Vol. 50, pp. 307-17.
  20. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Heath, T. (2012) Effects of Temporary Markets on Spatial Interrelations: A Behavioural Analysis of a Public Realm in the UK, International Journal of Asian Behavioural Studies (jABs), January 2012, Volume 2 (No. 5): pp. 21-32.


Recent Conference Papers (2015-16) – out of +60 conference papers in total:

  1. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2016) China’s New-Type Urbanisation Plan (NUP) and the Foreseeing Challenges for Decarbonization of Cities, Applied Energy Conference CUE2016, Jinan, China, June 2016.
  2. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2016) City Enhancement beyond the Notion of “Sustainable City”: Introduction to Integrated Assessment for City Enhancement (iACE) Toolkit, Applied Energy Conference CUE2016, Jinan, China, June 2016.
  3. CHESHMEHZANGI, A., Dawodu, A. and Butters, C. (2016) Greening the Urban Housing: The Impact of Green Infrastructure on Household Energy-Use Reductions for Cooling, 5th Workshop on EU-Asia Relations, Hong Kong, 12-14 March 2016.
  4. Butters, C. and CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2016) Sustainability: 10 Reasons to Revisit the Small Scale Low-Dense City, at the Regional Urbanism Conference, Huddersfield, UK, February 2016.
  5. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Butters, C. (2015) Sustainable Living and Urban Density: The Choices are Wide Open, at CUE2015, Applied Energy conference for Low Carbon Cities and Urban Energy Systems, Fuzhou, China, 15-17 Nov 2015.
  6. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2015) Feasibility Study of Songao’s Low Carbon Town Planning, China, at CUE2015, Applied Energy conference for Low Carbon Cities and Urban Energy Systems, Fuzhou, China, 15-17 Nov 2015.
  7. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2015) Improvement of Urban Housing Blocks in China: The Comparative Cases of Design Optimisation, at the International Conference on Sustainable Buildings and Structures, XJTLU, Suzhou, China, 30-31 October 2015.
  8. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2015) Urban Design Control(s) For and Against Housing Transitions in China, at the Third International Urban Design Conference on Cities, People and Places, ICCPP2015, Colombo, Sri Lana, 25-27 October 2015.
  9. Hashemi, A., Cruickshank, H. and CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2015) Improving Thermal Comfort in Low-income Tropical Housing: The Case of Uganda, at ZEMCH2015, Lecce, Italy, 22-25 September 2015.
  10. CHESHMEHZANGI, A., Ch’ng, E., and Adkins, D. A. (2015) Capturing the Realities through Digital Preservation and Scanning Techniques: The case of ZouMaTang Ancient Village, China, at REHAB2015, Green Lines Institute, Porto, Portugal, 21-23 July 2015.
  11. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Butters, C. (2015) Refining the Complex Urban: The Study of Urban Residential Typologies for Reduced Future Energy and Climate Impacts, at the 8th Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU), Incheon, South Korea, 22-24 June 2015.
  12. CHESHMEHZANGI, A., Galvez, L. H., Hashemi, A. and Cruickshank, H. (2015) Housing and Energy: Review of Cases in China, at the 5th Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy and the Environment 2015, ACSEE2015, Kobe, Japan, 11-14 June 2015.
  13. Galvez, L. H. and CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2015) China’s Urban Housing: The Review of Three Studied Typologies and Patterns, at the 6th Urban Space and Social Conference, Macau, China, June 2015.
  14. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Galvez, L. H. (2015) Development of Rural Housing in China: Transitions in Housing Development Patterns, at the Rural Development International Conference, Bangkok, Thailand, March 2015.
  15. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Deng, W. (2015) Comparison Study of Key Performative Indicator (KPI) Systems in Chinese Eco-city Development, at the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Urbanization, ICSU 2015, Hong Kong, January 2015.
  16. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Butters, C. (2014) The Effects of Improved Built Form on Urban Cooling: Review of Passive Strategies and Urban Design Case Studies, at 5th International Conference on Sustainable Energy and Environment (SEE 2014): Science, Technology and Innovation for ASEAN Green Growth, Bangkok, Thailand, 19-21 November 2014.
  17. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. and Deng, W. (2014) Optimizing the Complex Urban: The Case of Sustainability and the Built Environment for the Eco-Cities in China, at the 5th International Conference for Construction and Project Management, ICCPM2014, Taipei, Taiwan, 28-29 August 2014.
  18. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2014) Social Science, Urban and Urbanism: An interdisciplinary approach to urbanisation and comprehensive development, at the 9th Inter-disciplinary Social Sciences Conference, at University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, 11-14 June 2014.
  19. CHESHMEHZANGI, A., Adkins, D. A., Xia, L. and Tang, C.M.L. (2013) Urban Growth and Energy Management: The case of China’s Urbanisation and Energy demands, at ISEEE, Bangkok, Thailand, 17-20 November 2013.
  20. CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2012) Globalisation, identity and urbanism: Contextualisation of urban identities, at the International Conference on Place and Displacement, Community Identity Displacement Research Network, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, November 2012.


Edited volumes (teaching-related):

  • CHESHMEHZANGI, A. (2015) Arch-Warriors: Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China 2014-15, UNNC’s first Architecture Year-book, August 2015, 90 pages; (first UNNC architecture yearbook).


Serving as a Reviewer for International Journals, including:

  • Journal of Cities;
  • Journal of Urbanism;
  • Journal of Urban Affairs;
  • Journal of Urban Design;
  • Journal of Sustainability;
  • Journal of Energy and Buildings;
  • Journal of Building and Environment;
  • Journal of Urban Design International;
  • Int’l Journal of Sustainable Built Environment;
  • Journal of Building Construction and Planning Research (JBCPR) – also as editor.


Workshops, Seminars and Keynote Speeches:

  • Since 2012, I have delivered around 60+ workshops and seminars in China and internationally (SE-Asia, E-Africa, South Africa, and the UK). He also has delivered 12 keynote speeches in this period of time.


Supervised PhD students:

  • Mr Ayotunde Dawodu (completion expected 2018), topic on development of NSAT for the African Context, Case of Lagos, Nigeria;
  • Mr Felix Osebor (completion expected Spring 2018), topic on Accessibility and Urban Sustainability: Agent-based modelling approach;
  • Mrs Jing Sun (completion expected 2019), topic on Storm water management at town planning level: GIS-based modelling for Sponge City Development;
  • Ms Linjun Xie (completion expected 2019), topic on political ecology of eco-city development in China.