About Iris Belle

Prof Dr Iris Belle researches innovations in the construction sector and teaches design studio as an Assistant Professor at Tongji University’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning in Shanghai. Iris advises international planning and design firms and creates concepts for making cities more livable, drawing on her research on the impact of socio-technical systems on the built environment. Her research focus includes the following themes:

  • The effects of development visions and urban governance processes on planning, design, and long-term quality of buildings, neighborhoods and society;
  • The way values are agreed upon and transacted across organizations; and
  • The potential of emerging technologies, specifically blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, to transform the construction sector.

Iris holds a PhD in Geography from Heidelberg University and a Diploma in Architecture from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. She is a public speaker and author of the book From Economic Zone to Eco-city (Borntraeger Science Publisher, 2015). During her postdoctoral research from 2011 to 2015, she was a module coordinator at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) and at the Future Cities Lab (FCL), Singapore. She is fluent in German, English, and Chinese.

Iris has been a architectural and urban designer at gmp-architekten and AREP and conceptualized architecture and urban development themed events with DAAD, Beijing Institute of Architectural Design and stadtkultur-international.






ShanghaiBIM November Meeting

Blockchains, or distributed ledger technology, promise trusted exchange of data without a watchdog. Combining game theory and cryptography, the technology ...
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Screencast – Blockchain technology in the AEC industry in China

Blockchain technology is seen as a disruptive force in the finance, insurance and logistics industry and blockchain think tanks have ...
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GENIUS: Better Schools, Better Cities

Workshop on integrated and sustainable design for school buildings In September 2017 I was invited to participate at the GENIUS ...
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First phase of the “GSO Leadership Academy 2017/18” in Boston

First phase of the “GSO Leadership Academy” for outstanding German speaking early- and mid-career scientists took place in Boston. Four ...
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The architecture, engineering and construction industry and blockchain technology

Paper presented at the DADA 2017 International Conference on Digital Architecture at Nanjing University, Nanjing, China. Abstract: Abstract: The trusted ...
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Interview for STADTMACHER Project

What parameters describe housing supply? Could special economic zones in Germany be a strategy for international cooperation? What is innovation ...
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Seminar on “Life cycle evaluation of urban fragments with design scenarios” at Tianjin University

Seminar on “Life cycle evaluation of urban fragments with design scenarios” at Tianjin University, with Prof. Yang Wei (lead, Tianjin ...
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Stadtmacher Treffen, Berlin | ”城市创者”项目启动活动,柏林

Citymaker-Pioneers from China and Germany with diverse backgrounds and the interested public met in Berlin. Together and in teams they ...
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Hassler, Uta, Belle, Iris (2017, forthcoming) Singapore’s Building StockApproaches to a multi-scale documentation and analysis of transformations. Hirmer, München.

Belle, Iris (2015) From Economic Zone to Eco-city? Urban Governance and Urban Development Trends in Tianjin’s Coastal Area. Bornträger, Stuttgart.

Journal and Magazine Papers

Belle, Iris (2017) Investing in local construction skills: Scenarios for upgrading the built environment with more labor and less material resources. Procedia Engineering: 968-974.

Belle, Iris, T. Wang, U. Hassler (2015) Age of land as parameter for sustainable transformation of Singapore’s building stock. Habitat International (48): 20-29.

Wang, Tao, I. Belle, U. Hassler (2015) Modelling of Singapore’s Topographic Transformation Based on DEMs. Geomorphology (231): 367-375.

Hassler, Uta; I. Belle, W. van Aaken (2012) From Godown to Downtown: the evolution of Singapore’s port-related building stock. Bollettino del Dipartimento di Conservazione dei Beni Architettonici ed Ambientali: 500-507.

Belle, Iris (2011) From economic growth to sustainable regional development? The case of China’s Tianjin Binhai New Area. Regions (282): 15-18.

Belle, Iris (2008) The Axis to Nature—Beijing Olympic Forest Park. Topos: European Landscape Magazine (63): 22.

Conference Papers and Presentations

2017. The architecture, engineering and construction industry and blockchain technology, International Conference on Digital Architecture DADA2017, Nanjing, China: 279-284.

2016. Investing in local construction skills: Scenarios for upgrading the built environment with more labor and less material resources. “Urban Transitions Conference”, 09.09.2016, Shanghai.

2015. Long-term perspectives: Preservation of the building stock. “One Day Workshop on Reconciling Tensions between Tourism and Heritage Conservation in the Melaka World Heritage Site”, Melaka World Heritage Office, 19.08.2015“, Melaka.

2015. Neue Medien, neue Möglichkeiten—Stadtwirklichkeiten und Stadtvisionen in Singapur. (New media, new possibilities—Singapore’s urban realities and urban visions.) Workshop “Urbanisierung in Asien— Stadträume organisieren – Räume, sich in der Stadt zu organisieren“ (Urbanisation in Asia—Organising urban space—spaces for organising urban activities) 12.06.2015, Rosa-Luxemburg Stiftung Berlin.

2014. Topographic Change and Transformations of the Built Environment. Workshop “Reconstructing Singapore’s Disappeared Hills“, 26.09.2014, ETH Zürich.

2014. Transforming and Mining Urban Stocks. Symposium “Research, Outcomes And Prospects“, 25.09.2014, ETH Zürich.
2013. Local Boom and Global Networks: Making Sense of a Chinese Municipality. Keynote, 2nd International Seminar “Rethinking the Metropolis II“, 9.10.2013, UAM Xochimilco, Mexico-City.

2013. Hierarchies, Markets, Networks and the New Chinese City: Observations from the Tianjin Coastal Area. “Inter-Asian Seminar on Asian Megacities: Asian Urbanism and Beyond“, 16.08.2013, Chinese University, Hong Kong.

2012. From Godown to Downtown: The Evolution of Singapore‘s Port-related Building Stock. Conference: “Port Cities as Hotspots of Creative and Sustainable Local Development“, 01.09.2012, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.

2012. Researching Singapore‘s Building Stock. “World Urban Forum”, 03.09.2012, Naples.

2012. Of Survivors and Losers: Exploring Patterns of Transformation of Singapore‘s Building Stock. “2nd Future Cities Lab Conference“, 11.09.2012, Zürich.

2012. How Yesterday’s Planning Determines Today’s Strategies and Shapes Tomorrow’s City—Monitoring and Evaluating the Long-Term Effect of Planning on Singapore’s Building Stock. “Sustainable Cities—Annual Conference for the Consortium of African and Asian Studies“, 29.01.2012, Singapore.

2012. Patterns of Survival: Buildings in Rochor District, Singapore. “Planetary Urbanisation“, 31.01.2012, Singapore.

2011. Historic Structure and Dynamics of Singapore’s Building Stock. “Asian Urbanisms in the Age of Global Modernity“, Global Asia Institute, National University of Singapore, 20.09.2011, Singapore.

2010. with Wang Fang. General Aspects of the Chinese National and Corporate Culture(s). IMM 2010 class (executive MBA students) der GISMA Business School, 24.08.2010. Beijing.

2010. From Economic Growth to Sustainable Regional Development? The Case of China´s Tianjin Binhai New Area. “1st Workshop of the RSA Research Network Ecological Regional Development“, Institute of Ecological Regional Development, 11-12.06.2010, Dresden.

2009. Von der Sonderwirtschaftszone zur Eco-city—Urban Governance und Stadtentwicklung im Tianjin Binhai New Area. “8th NSE-Doktoranden-Kolloquium—Sustainability in Architecture and Urban Planning“, 3.10.2009, Karlsruhe.

2007. Urban Governance and Urban Development in Special Developent Zones—Institutions and Innovations after 1978. “Urban Governance, Urban Development and Economic Dynamics in Chinese Urban Agglomerations“, 19.10.2007, Nanjing University.