Creativity for the city, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China

In Xi’an, small stalls, small restaurants and corner shops selling homemade food or providing various services like haircut or miscellaneous repair are very common. However, most of the owners of the stalls are people who don’t know much about design or aesthetics. So the appearance of their stalls tend to be very cluttered and outdated. This project recruited famous designers and volunteered design teams to redesign and renovate the stalls for free. So far, 20 renovation cases has been implemented.

The information on this project was compiled by students from the University of Geneva as part of the Urban Futures Workshop (full report).

Xi'an 1.png

Date : Dec 2017

Implementation period: 3 years so far

Time life of the project 3 months for a season


Cost: undisclosed

Status of land: Public and Private

Type of place: mainly street stalls, corner shops in urban center, and some streets and open spaces in neighborhoods as well.


  • Initiator and funder:
    • Zhengzhou, a we media on Wechat, local private sector.
    • Management office of Xixian International Culture and Education Park, local public sector.
  • Other funders:
    • Commercial design teams, like IKEA, local private sector.
  • Designers and implementors:
    • Individual designers or design teams (20 in total), like Wangguan Li, Fengshenhuyu design.
    • Students in the department of industrial design, School of art and design, Xi'an University of Technology
  • Supporters:
    • Owners of the renovated stalls and shops, civil society

Types of actions

  • Events: “Creativity for the city” redesigned and renovated small stalls and shops, for example restaurants and bookstores etc. in Xi’an.
  • Reversible interventions
  • Citizen participation / participative process
  • Experimentation / innovation
  • Transformation aspects / temporary change/ replication

Target audience

Owners of the renovated stalls and shops, residents nearby.

Citizen participation

This project was initiated by a we media named Zhenguan, which posts news about Xi’an through the Wechat subscription. After came up with the idea of renovating the small stalls in the city, Zhenguan cooperated with management office of Xixian International Culture and Education Park, which is a public institution responsible for the construction of the park and also committed to culture promotion and innovation. The design and renovation are implemented by volunteered design teams from university and enterprises. Vendors communicated with the designers to make their requests and give consent to the renovation of the stalls.


  • Access and connection: The old booths became more attractive to new customers. And it’s more convenient for the nearby residents to enjoy the food or services sold by the stalls.
  • Activities and practices: Besides the renovation of the stalls, this project also designed ergonomic brooms and dustpans for sanitation workers (one of the 20 cases).
  • Comfort and image: The old stalls and shops in the memory of the residents are full of new vitality and become more bright, clean and beautiful. The streetscape of the city becomes more pleasing and fashionable. And the cultural promotion and propaganda are better realized in this city through the details of the design.
  • Sociability and link: The long neglected group of people like hawkers and sanitation worker got help for free. Different stakeholders get closer ties through this project.

Source: Zhenguan
Source: Zhenguan


Achieved objectives: more bright and aesthetic appearance of small stalls and shops, street view with more sense of design, convenience to the public, inhabitants’ sense of belonging to this city.

Limits: Limited participants may bring competitive pressure to other nearby hawkers.



WeChat: zhenguanclub,

Weibo: @贞观club

Address: Management office of Xixian International Culture and Education Park,

Tel: +86 029-89502600


Address: Intersection of Hanma Fuyu road and Fengliu Road, Gaoqiao street, Xixian New District, Xi’an. Post code: 710115


Official account of Zhenguan:

Xinhua News Agency report: 02/21/c_1122433743.htm


  • Type of action : animation / évènement
  • State : En cours
  • Starting date : Dec. 1, 2017