China Housing Lab (China Living Lab for Future Housing)

Information doc: 

Zhengjie Liu  Professor, Director
Sino-European Usability Center
School of Information Science & Technology
Dalian Maritime University
1 Linghai Road, Dalian, 116026 China









Weijie Wei UX Manager

Zhejiang Key Lab for Healthy & Smart Kitchen
Fotile Corporation Research
11th Floor, 1st Bldg
999 Yangfan Road, Ningbo, 315040 China


Zhejiang Key Lab for Healthy & Smart Kitchen (


China National Engineering Research Center for Human Settlements (


Sino-European Usability Center of Dalian Maritime University (




China Living Lab for Future Housing (China Housing Lab) aims at human-centered innovation in housing industry through living lab approach for people’s health and wellbeing. It is a consortium of three living labs in China:

  • Zhejiang Key Lab for Healthy & Smart Kitchen founded in 2010 in Ningbo (
  • China National Engineering Research Center for Human Settlements founded in 2005 in Beijing (
  • Sino-European Usability Center of Dalian Maritime University founded in 2000 in Dalian (

We have been researching and developing various solutions for people’s better life for years since 2000 adopting user-centered design (UCD) approach. Our goal is to become a best practice dissemination center and an innovation hub for the housing industry in China. We welcome international cooperation from around world.

People’s health and wellbeing through innovations in housing is our focus. We have been working towards this goal for years since 2000 by adopting user-centered design and innovation approach and have developed various solutions with success. We have worked on numerous projects sponsored by Chinese government, EU programs and industry including many multinational companies.

We believe that the most important capabilities and attributes as a living lab would be the following:

  • An user-centered approach for understanding users, identifying user needs, designing innovative solutions and user-based iterative evaluation-redesign
  • Focus on the target context of use including users, tasks and environments in generating and validating solutions
  • Long-term partnership with users and all other stakeholders for cooperative innovation in real-life contexts

User-centeredness is a major gene in the approach for solution innovation and development by China Housing Lab. The user-centered design (UCD) methodology has been adopted for product/service development since 2000 when Sino-European Usability Center was founded as the first research center dedicated to promoting user experience (UX) practice in China. We use this approach for understanding context of use, identifying user needs, designing solutions and evaluating designs. A set of UCD methods like ethnographic field observation, interview, contextual inquiry, user diary, focus group, questionnaire survey, personas, scenarios, formative and summative user testing etc. have been common practice. We focus on the context of use as early as possible and across the whole product lifecycle to make sure the product we are going to develop finally works well in the target context. The user populations involved in our past projects include both normal user groups and special user groups such as elders, disabled, low-literate, children and the people living in countryside.

By focusing on context of use early on and across the product lifecycle, attention is drawn to the social, economic and cultural values the users appreciate. The involvement of all the major stakeholders including the residential communities (end-users), government bodies, academics and commercial product/service providers in the cooperative innovation ecosystem, we make sure the whole value chain is well covered. So that the solutions innovated and developed by the living lab approach will have a stronger vitality in the real-life world and serve the long-term interests of the target communities.

China Housing Lab is based in CITISAH - China Industry Technology Innovation Strategic Alliance for Housing founded in 2012 by Chinese government, a national industry technology innovation strategic alliance focusing on housing industry with over 90 member organizations (companies 65%, research/design institutes 23%, universities 12%).