Photo of Ai, Ning

Ning Ai

Assistant Professor

Urban Planning and Policy


Building & Room:

316A CUPPA Hall, MC 348


412 S. Peoria St., Suite 316A

Office Phone Voice:

(312) 413-9786


CV Download:

Ning Ai_CV_Jan 12 2019


Ning Ai joined the Department of Urban Planning and Policy in August of 2011 as an Assistant Professor, with a joint appointment at the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy as a Research Assistant Professor. Ning’s research and teaching interests focus on urban environmental planning, material and waste management, urban metabolism, and system analysis of urban sustainability. Largely quantitative, her research involves multidisciplinary methods, including material flow analysis, spatial analysis, socioeconomic impact analysis, environmental economics valuation methods, and system modeling.

Ning’s research aims to support data-informed decision making for sustainability policy programs. Most recently, Ning has been engaged in material- and community-specific waste management, with a focus on electronic waste, post-consumer carpet, municipal solid waste, food waste, and electric vehicle batteries. She is also examining urban universities as small-scale urban systems and collaborating with researchers from computer science, environmental health, civil and environmental engineering on urban metabolism modeling. Connecting environmental and transportation planning, she also led two projects on Environmental Impact Assessment of Rail Infrastructure in Illinois and Commuting-Related Environmental Impacts in the Healthcare Sector.

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 as the Chair of the Resource Conservation Technical Coordinating Committees of the Air & Waste Management Association.

Selected Publications

Ning Ai and Nancey Green Leigh. “Planning for Sustainable Material and Waste Management.” American Planning Association Planning Advisory Service (PAS) Report #587. May 2017.

Susan Kaplan, Ning Ai, Peter Orris, and P. S. Sriraj. 2016. “Green Commuting in the Health Care Sector: Obstacles and Best Practices.“ Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 58(2):e34-8.

Ning Ai. 2013. Book Review: Metabolism of the Anthroposphere: Analysis, Evaluation, Design. By Peter Baccini and Paul H. Brunner. Journal of Planning Literature, 28: 365.

Ning Ai and Karen R. Polenske. 2008. “Socioeconomic Impact Analysis of Yellow-Dust Storms: An Approach and Case Study for Beijing.” Economic Systems Research, 20 (2): 187-203.

Zhan Guo, Ning Ai, and Karen R. Polenske. 2008. “Evaluating Environmental and Economic Benefits of YellowDust Storm-Related Policies in North China.” The International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 15 (5): 457-470.

Nancey Green Leigh, Matthew Realff, Ning Ai, Steven French, Catherine Ross, and Bert Bras. 2007. “Modeling Obsolete Computer Stock under Regional Data Constraints: A Case Study in Atlanta.” Resources, Conservation, and Recycling, 51: 847-869.


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