Photo of Ai, Ning

Ning Ai

Assistant Professor

Urban Planning and Policy


Building & Room:

258 CUPPA Hall, MC 348


412 S. Peoria St., Room 258

Office Phone:

(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 Division Vice Chair of Sustainability and Resource Conservation Technical Council and Chair of the Resource Conservation Technical Coordinating Committee of the Air & Waste Management Association.

Selected Publications

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