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Yuan Lai
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E-mail: yuanlai@tsinghua.edu.cn

Assistant Professor/Special Research Fellow

 

E-mailyuanlai@tsinghua.edu.cn



RESEARCH AND  TEACHING CONCENTRATION

Urban Science, Urban Informatics, Urban Design, Smart Cities, Urban Health

 

EDUCATION

- Ph.D., Civil Engineering in Urban Systems and Informatics, New York University, 2019

- M.S., Applied Urban Science and Informatics, New York University, 2016

- M.S., Urban Planning, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 2011

- B.S., Landscape Architecture, Beijing Forestry University, 2009

 

PROFESSIONAL  EXPERIENCE

- Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University (2021-present)

- Lecturer of Urban Science and Planning, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2019-2021)

- Doctoral Research Assistant, New York University Marron Institute of Urban Management (2018-2019)

- Graduate Research Assistant, New York University Center for Urban Science and Progress (2016-2018)

- Urban Designer, Moshe Safdie and Associates, Boston (2011-2015)

 

AFFILIATIONS AND SERVICES

- Urban Design Forum Committee, New York (2018-2019)

- Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

- Editorial Board Member, Plos Digital Health

- Reviewer, Landscape and Urban Planning, Urban Studies, Health & Place, ACM Transactions on Spatial Algorithms and Systems, Sustainable Cities and Society, Data & Policy, Informatics

- Research Affiliate, NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management

- Translation quality control consultant, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI)

 

HONORS AND AWARDS
2019Google AI Impact Challenge winning team (NYU Marron Institute Civic Analytics)   
2018Best Visualization Award, United Nations Data for Climate Action Challenge

2017Data for Good Exchange Data Science Immersion Fellow, Bloomberg
2017Forefront Fellow, Urban Design Forum
2017Augmented Reality Prototyping Fellow, NYC Media Lab + Bloomberg
2016HackNYU Winning Team Lead  
2015Academic Scholarship, New York University Center for Urban Science and Progress
20142nd Place, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Critical Datathon
2011Best Urban Planning Master Thesis Award, University at Buffalo, SUNY
2011Outstanding Student Project Award, American Planning Association WNY Chapter

PUBLICATIONS

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

 

1. Lai Y., 2021. Urban informatics for green infrastructure: An integrated approach for street trees data collection, analytics, and citizen science. Landscape Architecture.

 

2. Kontokosta, C.E., Freeman, L. and Lai, Y., 2021. Up-and-coming or down-and-out? Social media popularity as an indicator of neighborhood change. Journal of Planning Education and Research, p.0739456X21998445.

 

3. Lai Y., Charpignon M., Ebner, D. K., Celi, L.A. 2020. Unsupervised learning for county-level topological classification for COVID-19 research. Intelligence-Based Medicine. 

 

4. Luo, E.M., Newman, S., Amat, M., Charpignon, M.L., Duralde, E.R., Jain, S., Kaufman, A.R., Korolev, I., Lai, Y., Lam, B.D. and Lipcsey, M., 2021. MIT COVID-19 Datathon: Data without boundaries. BMJ innovations, 7(1).

 

5. Lai, Y., Yeung, W. and Celi, L.A., 2020. Urban Intelligence for Pandemic Response. JMIR public health and surveillance6(2), p.e18873. 

 

6. Lai, Y. and Kontokosta, C.E., 2019. Topic modeling to discover the thematic structure and spatial-temporal patterns of building renovation and adaptive reuse in cities. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems78, p.101383.

 

7. Lai, Y. and Kontokosta, C.E., 2019. The impact of urban street tree species on air quality and respiratory illness: A spatial analysis of large-scale, high-resolution urban data. Health & place56, pp.80-87.

 

8. Lai, Y. and Kontokosta, C.E., 2018. Quantifying place: Analyzing the drivers of pedestrian activity in dense urban environments. Landscape and Urban Planning180, pp.166-178. 

 

9. Celi, L.A., Marshall, J.D., Lai, Y. and Stone, D.J., 2015. Disrupting electronic health records systems: the next generation. JMIR medical informatics, 3(4), p.e34. 

 

10. Yin, L., Raja, S., Li, X., Lai, Y., Epstein, L. and Roemmich, J., 2013. Neighbourhood for playing: using GPS, GIS and accelerometry to delineate areas within which youth are physically active. Urban studies50(14), pp.2922-2939. 

 

Peer-reviewed Conference Proceedings

1. Khmaissia, F., Sagheb Haghighi, P., Jayaprakash, A., Wu, Z., Papadopoulos, S., Lai, Y. and Nguyen, F.T., 2020. An unsupervised machine learning approach to assess the ZIP code level impact of COVID-19 in NYC. In 2020 International Conference on Machine Learning, Healthcare Systems, Population Health, and the Role of Health-Tech.

2. Lai, Y., 2020, March. Hyper-local Urban Contextual Awareness through Open Data Integration. In 2020 IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications Workshops (PerCom Workshops) (pp. 1-6). IEEE.

 

3. Kontokosta, C.E., Lance, F. and Lai, Y., 2019. Using big data and social media to understand neighborhood Conditions. In Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Annual Research Conference.

4. Kontokosta, C. E., Lai, Y., Bonczak, B., Papadopoulos, S., Hong, B., Malik, A. and Johnson, N., 2018. A dynamic spatial-temporal model of urban carbon emissions for data-driven climate action by cities. Proceedings of the 2018 Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange, New York, NY.

5. Lai, Y. and Kontokosta, C. E., 2017. Analyzing the drivers of pedestrian activity at high spatial resolution. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure, New York, NY.

6. Lai, Y. and Kontokosta, C. E., 2017. Measuring the impact of urban street trees on air quality and respiratory illness: A data-driven approach to environmental justice. Proceedings of the 2107 Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange, New York, NY.

 

 

Book Chapters

1. Lai, Y. and Stone, D.J., 2020. Data Integration for Urban Health. In Leveraging Data Science for Global Health (pp. 351-363). Springer, Cham.

 

2. Lai, Y., Moseley, E., Salgueiro, F. and Stone, D. J., 2016. Integrating non-clinical data with EHRs, in: Secondary Analysis of Electronic Health Records. MIT Critical Data Group, ed. Springer International Publishing AG.

 

3. Stone, D. J., Rousseau, J. and Lai, Y., 2016. Pulling it all together: Envisioning a data-driven, ideal care system, in: Secondary Analysis of Electronic Health Records, MIT Critical Data Group, ed. Springer International Publishing AG.

 

 

Technical Report, and Working Paper

 

1. Avasarala, S., Chen, S., Counts, S., Fink, J., Fulton, B., Gordon, E., Harlow, J., Hodgson, P., Lai, Y., Merida, W., O’Brien, D. and Shelton, K., 2020. How cities can become more flexible in the wake of COVID-19: Housing case study. Microsoft Research.

 

2. Kontokosta, C., Lai, Y., Papadopoulos, S., Sagi, J.,  Fuerst, F. and Pivo, G., 2019. Estimating office and multifamily building energy retrofit hurdle rates and risk arbitrage in energy efficiency investments. Working paper for Real Estate Research Institute & Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Research Grant.

 

3. Lai, Y., Glinow, A.V. and Banerjea, S., 2018. Arrival House: How can we redesign and rethink housing to better integrate the arrival of immigrants to their new city? Design research report for Urban Design Forum Design for Arrival Program.

 

4. Kontokosta, C., Lai, Y., Bonczak, B., Papadopoulos, S., Hong, B., Malik, A. and Johnson, N., 2017. Urban physiology: A dynamic spatial-temporal model of urban carbon emissions to drive climate action by cities. Technical report for the United Nations Data for Climate Action Challenge.

 

5. NYC Department of City Planning and NYU CUSP. 2016. Neighborhood profiles: Planning and visualizing for strategic growth. Technical report for urban science and informatics capstone project.

 

 

Invited Talks and Media Coverage

 

1. Lai, Y. and Levi, R. Perspectives from New Engineering Education Transformation on Curriculum Transformation. MIT J-WEL Higher Education Workshop, Cambridge, 2020.

 

2. Media coverage, What is the Covid-19 data tsunami telling policymakers? A global team of researchers searches for insights during a weeklong virtual “datathon.”  MIT News, 2020.

 

3. Lai, Y. Integrating urban open data for public good. Open Data Science Conference, Boston, 2020.

 

4. Lai, Y.  Using big data and social media to understand neighborhood conditions. Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Annual Research Conference, Denver, 2019.

 

5. Media coverage: Exploring urban science. MIT News, 2019.

 

6. Lai, Y., Glinow, A.V. and Banerjea, S. Arrival house: An integrated co-living model for new arrivals to NYC”, National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Annual Conference, New York, 2019.

 

7. Lai, Y., Glinow, A.V. and Banerjea, S. Community-based co-living in NYC. New York Build Expo, New York, 2019.

 

8. Lai, Y. Invited roundtable discussion with American Express, 13th Annual Machine Learning Symposium, The New York Academy of Sciences, New York, 2019.

 

9. Media coverage: New York City’s pollen scape, and what it says about air quality & environmental justice. Marron Institute of Urban Management, 2019.

 

10. Lai, Y., Glinow, A.V. and Banerjea, S. Arrival house: An integrated co-living model for new arrivals to NYC. American Planning Association New York Metro Annual Conference, New York, 2018.

 

11. Lai, Y. Big data for local climate change. MetroLab Network Summit, Newark, 2018.

 

12. Lai, Y., Glinow, A.V. and Banerjea, S. Design for arrival: A co-live scenario for newly arrived immigrants to New York City. Urban Design Forum, New York, 2018.

 

13. Media coverage: “Data for good: Bloomberg supports data scientists work with nonprofits and municipalities to solve real-world problems”. NYC Media Lab, 2017.

 

14. Lai, Y. Analyzing the drivers of pedestrian activity at high spatial resolution. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure, New York, 2017.


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