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Niharika Shekhawat

Niharika Shekhawat

Urban Designer

Minneapolis, MN


  • Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation
  • Bachelor of Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture New Delhi



  • Council of Architecture, India (CA/2018/99027)


  • 2020 Winner (student category), International Design Competition: Radical Urban Intervention, Arcdeck
  • 2019 Resilient Homes Challenge, The World Bank

Niharika is an Urban Designer who has an innate predilection for resiliency, realized through locally-informed transformational habitats, urban activism, and humanitarian design. Her work aims to address the complex social, political, and economic overlays in the contemporary urban environment, through social-advocacy and trans-disciplinary execution. She graduated from Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation with a Masters of Science in Architecture and Urban Design. Her academic projects included reinterpreting the Green New Deal in Hudson Valley’s healthcare sector; building a resiliency framework at Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront, and creating urban systems to establish a path to residency for migrant workers and asylum seekers in TelAviv. She previously received a Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, India.
Before joining Asakura Robinson, Niharika has worked at non-profit organizations and private firms. Her professional experience has spanned an array of challenging contexts: from designing pop-up schools for marginalized communities in Dhaka to envisioning child-friendly spaces in the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. She has also worked on post-disaster shelters, co-authored grants, and edited training modules for Humanitarian Innovation engaging with local communities. Most recently, she was a fellow at Center for Active Design writing the new Active Design publication, a manual of strategies for creating a healthier built environment.

Beyond urban discourse, Niharika enjoys Indie and alternative rock music, baking, puzzles, and watching (or reading) Harry Potter marathons.

Q & A

Where do you get your design inspiration from?
My design inspiration comes from people – Observing them, learning from them, understanding their needs, and focusing on their strengths.

If you could work on a project anywhere in the world where would it be?
TelAviv-Yafo, Israel. I would want to realize my post-grad academic speculation into an equitable, sustainable, and healthier space for all.

If you had a superpower to make a bigger impact on communities/ cities/ or environments what superpower would you have?
I would want everyone to be kind – Acting out of kindness requires a level of understanding and empathy that would change the behavior and values of today’s human race.

Recent Projects by Niharika Shekhawat