Yiwen Cui

Yiwen's research explores the sense of community in Aotearoa and how participatory planning processes can influence how different ethnic groups perceive it.

Yiwen Cui

Migration and globalisation are exerting pressure on the social and cultural frameworks that influence the design and use of public open spaces in Aotearoa New Zealand. Migrants from increasingly diverse backgrounds are introducing new insights into these how to design and live within these spaces and challenging existing frameworks to cater for greater cultural diversity within the public realm.

Yiwen’s PhD research aims to understand which community participation processes in public open space planning are the most effective to encourage the sense of community amongst the major ethnic groups, including New Zealand European, Māori, Chinese and Pasifika, in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The research process involves an online survey that examines whether participatory planning of public open spaces can encourage the sense of community through the lens of the Sense of Community Index, and the focus groups, which explore the differences and similarities in relation to effective community participation methods for understanding and engaging ethnic groups.

The findings of this research will address the gap in the existing literature and create guidelines to engage with the potential participants more effectively for community participation projects in correspondence to the multicultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand.


Associate Professor Morten Gjerde and Bruno Marques


  • Master of Landscape Architecture, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, United States
  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, Henan, China