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Photo of Ai, Ning

Ning Ai

Associate Professor

Urban Planning and Policy


Building & Room:

258 CUPPA Hall, MC 348


412 S. Peoria St., Room 258

Office Phone:

(312) 413-9786


CV Link:

Ning Ai


Ning Ai joined UIC in 2011 with a joint appointment in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy and the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy. Her research and teaching interests center on integrating life cycle perspectives and locally-specific data into environmental planning and sustainability policy making. Her primary theme of interdisciplinary research is material and waste management in an urban metabolic context. She has also implemented neighborhood-level data mining, environmental modelling, and metrics development to study sustainable transportation and environment.

Ning has worked for the World Bank, the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co., and the Georgia State Department of Natural Resources. Her previous work experiences include the application of GIS in environmental protection, urban sustainability indicators, and the socioeconomic impact analysis of natural disasters.

She currently serves on the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Committee on Diversity and was a former Chair of the Sustainability and Resource Conservation Division of the Air & Waste Management Association (2020-2022).


Courses Taught at UIC


UPP570 Environmental Planning and Policy

UPP571 Economic and Environmental Planning

UPP572 System Methods for Environmental Planning and Policy

UPP575 Recycling the City

UPP514 Economic Analysis for Planning and Management

US240 Urban and Community Economics

Selected Publications

Junjun Zheng and Ning Ai. 2021. Evaluating the Sustainability of Urban Food Recovery Programs: An Economic and Environmental Assessment in Chicago. Transportation Research Record. 2676 (1): 118-130.

Ning Ai, Junjun Zheng, Xiaochen Chen, and Kazuya Kawamura. 2021. Neighborhood-Specific Traffic Impact Analysis of Restaurant Meal Delivery Trips: Planning Implications and Case Studies in Chicago. Journal of Urban Planning and Development. 147 (2).

Ning Ai and Junjun Zheng. 2019. “Community-Based Food Waste Modeling and Planning Framework for Urban Regions.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 9(1): 1-20.

Ning Ai, Marc Kjerland, Cynthia Klein-Banai, Thomas L. Theis. 2019. Sustainability Assessment of Universities as Small-Scale Urban Systems: A Comparative Analysis Using Fisher Information and Data Envelopment Analysis. Journal of Cleaner Production, 212: 1357-1367.

Ning Ai, Junjun Zheng, and Weiqiang Chen. 2019. U.S. End-of-Life Electric Vehicle Batteries: Dynamic Inventory Modeling and Spatial Analysis for Regional Solutions. Resource, Conservation, and Recycling, 145: 208-219.

Wen Zongguo, Chen Chen, Bai Weinan, Ning Ai, Lin Yanxin, Zhang Wenting. 2019. Environmental Impact of Carbon Cross-Media Metabolism in Waste Management: A Case Study of Municipal Solid Waste Treatment Systems in China. Science of the Total Environment. 674: 512-523.

Shantanu Pai, Ning Ai, and Junjun Zheng. 2019. “Decentralized Community Composting Feasibility Analysis for Residential Food Waste: A Chicago Case Study.” Sustainable Cities and Society. Volume 50.

Ning Ai, Junjun Zheng, and Xiaochen Chen. 2018. Electric Vehicle Park-Charge-Ride Programs: A Planning Framework and Case Study in Chicago. Transportation Research Part D: Transportation and Environment. 59: 433-450.

Ning Ai and Nancey Green Leigh. “Planning for Sustainable Material and Waste Management.” American Planning Association Planning Advisory Service (PAS) Report #587. May 2017. ISBN 978-1-61190-195-5.


Ph.D., City and Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011
Master in City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003
B.A., Environmental Economics & Natural Resource Management, Renmin (People’s) University of China, 2001
B.S., Environmental Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2001