Research Staff / Student
Xi Qiu (Colleen)

Qiu, Xi (裘熹, Colleen) is a PhD student in City Design and Development (CDD) at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). Colleen is searching for innovative urbanization in the East Asian Pacific Rim Region, through investigating unconventional, creative developments and related public policies. She researches development models that can improve the quality of the physical environment and reform the prevailing consumption-oriented urbanization model. At the present, she is examining contested ideas and practices that purport socially sensitive, environmentally responsible, and physically appealing development. Through the lens of comparative case studies in the context of globalizing Chinese cities, she explores the debates over urban environment, capitalist growth, social justice, and sustainability. She grounds her research in theories of urbanization and political economy, as well as in empirical evidence derived from morphological, historical, and sociological studies. Her research reveals the potential for design and development innovation to enhance urban livelihoods and impact public policies in the developing contexts. Her research will also inform the continued search for ideal, sustainable urban life across the globe.

At MIT, Colleen is involved in a few research projects on China's urban development, funded by the Sam Tak Lee Real Estate Entrepreneurship Laboratory and conducted by the Resilient Cities Housing Initiative (RCHI) and Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU). She explores a broad range of topics, including new town development, heritage preservation, coastal land reclamation, eco-cities, urban villages, urban renewal, local governance, gated communities, and new urban policies in China. She is also co-teaching the graduate course: Introduction to Urban Design and Development.

Prior to MIT, Colleen received her bachelor’s degree in architecture from Zhejiang University. She graduated with honors from Washington University in St. Louis, where she received master’s degrees in architecture, urban design, and architectural history and theory. She has practiced architecture, urban design, and community planning in China and the United States.

Areas of Interest
Climate Change, Community Planning and Economic Development, Environmental Planning, Globalization, Graphic Representation, Housing Development, International Development, Sustainability, Theory of Urbanism, Urban Design