Cultivating an innovative workplace and a diverse & engaging community

Course Project
Urban Design
UX Research

Take a Glance!

"City Corridor" was the design outcome of an urban design course at Tsinghua University, aimed at improving a deserted site in Beijing. After identifying pain points of varied user groups, we proposed an urban prototype & strategy to promote a diverse, engaging, & nature-friendly environment for people to work, enjoy & connect.


Research & Interviews
Concept Development & Ideation

My Individual Work

User Journey Map
3D Modelling
Master Plan & Landscape Design
Typology & Spatial Structure
Axonometric & Collage

Team & Duration

Yitian Li (Me) & Guiheng Si
2 months


Sketch Up 3D, Rhinoceros 3D
Auto CAD
Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign


How might we design a composite science park to support work-life balance, enhance communication and diversity, and benefit the surrounding community?

The project site is located in Haidian District, north-west Beijing, near the 4th Ring Highway and the Xiaoyue River. With abundant natural, cultural and educational resources in surrounding areas, the place demonstrates great potential in connecting the neighborhood and vitalizing the urban district. The course project was to discover possible industries for this area and propose an urban design strategy to benefit the surroundings and extend its impact on the whole city.

As the project started, the space was deserted with no existing buildings on site.
I collaborated with Guiheng Si on research, concept development and structure planning for the whole site and I worked on details of the north part.

Final Solution

Utilize the site potential and vitalize the community with joint corridors of public, green, and riverbank space

Key Features

Connecting Different Blocks through Featured Corridors

The main corridor performs as a winding axis in the middle, connecting public space nodes to organize the whole site. In addition to providing sufficient leisure space, the green space corridor (on the east) and the riverbank corridor (on the west) build a strong connection between the project site and surrounding areas.

Enhancing an Innovative Center with Integration of Space & Activities

We believe that innovation and collaboration come from an energetic environment and public engagement. In addition to land use distribution, I designed the architecture morphology integrating indoor and exterior space to nourish public activities. Nodes of highly composite functions are scattered in the site to pump vitality covering the whole place.

Building a Connected Community by Engaging Routes for Various Personas

Not only will commuters benefit from the environmental conditions of the workplace, but college students and residents in surrounding blocks are also potential stakeholders likewise.
Routes and user journey in space was the crucial focus in generating the design. I envisioned possible routes in the design outcome that accord with each group's spatial distribution and fit each's behavior patterns. In addition to resolving their needs, the interchanging routes provide destinations for each group that potentially promote communication opportunities.

People's intentions and behaviors vary a lot. The route map above only illustrates a singular case of the most common scenario.

Master Plan


Macroscale: From the city structure to the project identification

To define the focused area and design scope, we started by analyzing the site's relationship with the whole city and possible identification. We landed on the "science park" concept and kept the other ideas as additional features to make this site stand out.


Mesoscale: From case studies and user research to design objectives

Comparative Analysis

Beijing's Haidian District is famous for its radiant innovative, and educational atmosphere, with many science parks and institutes. We selected 3 existing science parks and compared the features with the site to discover the potentials of this project.

User Needs & Personas

From the comparative analysis, we learned that the site's surrounding environment consisted of a balance of workers (researchers), students, and residents. It demonstrated strong potential to bring people together and an apparent demand that this project should respond to their different needs.

After interviewing 4 college students, 3 residents, and 4 people who work in science parks in Haidian District, we developed 3 personas to understand their needs.


Synthesizing user needs and identifying design principles

We proposed the design principles by categorizing user needs to maximize their mutual benefits and typical demands. Derived from the following principles, we identified the design directions and methods to fulfill our project objective.

Based on the special shape of the site, we proposed that the wedge-shaped site could be a "City Corridor" that is walkable, friendly and engaging.


Microscale: Focusing on site features and user journeys to advance design

Land Use & Spatial Structure

We started from planning the land use by analyzing the spatial distribution of personas and how they access to the site.

We then developed the spatial structure from 2 perspectives:
a) One main "corridor" of public resources to engage different functions along the way
b) Two featured "corridors" of riverside and green space to link the site with the surrounding environment

We then placed the science park functions and relative amenities as groups in response to the distribution of surrounding buildings and people.

After collaborating on the concept development and site planning, my teammate and I moved on to further details of each part. While the south part focused more on an exhibitive and office environment, the north region (which I was responsible for) was a mixture of office, exchange, life, and casual atmosphere.

User Journey Map

To define the architecture typology, morphology, and landscape, I applied user journeys to understand how people behave in the area.


From architecture typology to landscape nodes: forming a well-connected and diverse entity

Typology Guidelines

I generate the typology guidelines from two scales:

1) The spatial distribution of different types in the site:
1.1) how it responds to the surrounding environment and needs of personas?
1.2) how different types are connected to form the "corridor" structure of the whole entity?

To envision an ideal structure of the site, I also extended the design scope to the adjacent surroundings and developed customized typology as a renovation strategy for the existing buildings.

2) The morphology and functions of each type:
2.1) how to synthesize the exterior and interior spaces to form an open and engaging place?
2.2) how to distribute the functions of each building vertically to ensure a vital and supportive environment?

Multi-dimensional Structure

The design concept of the "city corridor" was more than a flat 2D scheme. The transportation, public, sceneries, and land use were organized from underground, ground, and overpass levels, as displayed in the following overlayed maps.

Landscape Planning

To fulfill the design principles of "cozy, energetic" and fully tap the potential of green space and the river, I also planned the landscape nodes by applying precedent cases to specific places considering each's surrounding features.


01 Think beyond the territory

Interviews with people living, working, or studying nearby inspired us to think beyond merely designing a workplace within site. How would "indirect" features (leisure space, natural views, public activities, etc.) benefit work efficiency and innovation? How would a place influence its surrounding environment? Thinking beyond the territory ensures a design that is sustainable and responsible.

02 Human-centered methods in designing urban environment

The urban design takes on a multi-scale evaluation of a site: from a macro-scale understanding of the whole city, mesoscale analysis of the surrounding environment, to micro-scale design of the landscape and buildings. Finally, the site will directly interact with people in the area and influence the surrounding community.
Though spatial design usually falls into a morphology solution, in this project, I generate the master plan structure and architecture interfaces from deliberate visions of how a person would walk into the site, behave in the place, interact with people, and take away valuable gains.