Xiaofan Liang

Xiaofan Liang

City and Regional Planning PhD

Georgia Institute of Technology

I am currently a City and Regional Planning PhD at Georgia Institute of Technology. I work with Dr. Clio Andris at Friendly Cities Lab. My research broadly sit in the realm of urban analytics. More specifically, I study spatial and social networks in urban space: 1) how people are organized spatially and socially in cities from network perspectives and 2) how human networks interact with built environment and subsequently illuminate interactions between local communities and urban environment. My approaches are largely inspired by the field of digital civics, critical GIS, and participatory planning, and therefore aim to use technology consciously to support communities and public initiatives. Through research, I hope to facilitate authentic human connections that motivate social changes.

In my dissertation, I want to understand the costs, tradeoffs, and impacts of material (built environment) infrastructure of spatial and social connectivity in city. The research question at hand is what kinds of connectivity are prioritized or supported (by infrastructure), for whom, at what cost, and what can planners do in actions to amplify/mitigate the impacts. The message I want to bring home is a critical perspective on the hype of connectivity: while it is true that connectivity is the key to a place’s influence and growth, it also encodes inequality and exclusion.

Download my resumΓ©.

Interests
  • Spatial Social Networks
  • Urban Analytics (GIS, Machine Learning, Agent-based Modeling, etc.)
  • Digital Civics, Critical Data/GIS, Participatory and Collaborative Planning
Education
  • MCRP/PhD in City and Regional Planning, 2019-2023

    Georgia Institute of Technology

  • BS in Computational Science, 2015-2019

    Minerva University

  • BA in Sociology, 2013-2015

    University of California - Berkeley

News

πŸ’°[New!] Xiaofan was awarded $12,000 The ACRP (Airport Cooperative Research Program) Graduate Research Award for the project Toward an Inclusive Aerotropolis: Critical Connectivity Analysis around Atlanta Airport, in collaboration with Prof. Perry Yang and Aerotropolis Atlanta. (Aug 1st, 2022)

✈️[New!] Xiaofan was supported by Friendly Cities Lab to be a visiting scholar at Urban Analytics Lab (National University of Singapore) this summer 2022. She will continue to collaborate with Prof. Clio Andris and Prof. Filip Bijieck on a project of assessing social infrastructure POIs on a global scale using OpenStreetMap data (May 2022 - now).

πŸ™Œ[New!] Xiaofan is a member of the organizing team of the 3rd workshop of Data-driven Humanitarian Mapping: Harnessing Human-Machine Intelligence for High-Stake Public Policy and Resilience Planning. The workshop is part of ACM KDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining Hybrid Conference on Aug 15, 2022.

πŸ“„[New!] Xiaofan’s new paper with collaborators titled Characteristics of Jetters and Little Boxes: An Extensibility Study Using the Neighborhood Connectivity Survey (PDF) is published in Social Inclusion’s special issue “on the interplay of space, places, and social networks”. (July, 2022). This work was presented at North American Regional Science Conference (NARSC) in Nov, 2020.

πŸ“š Xiaofan has passed her doctoral comprehensive exam! The major exam is on Human-centered Approaches to Urban Analytics and minor exam is on Digital Civics ! She has enjoyed reading books such as Planning with Complexity: An Introduction to Collaborative Rationality for Public Policy; Cities for People, Not for Profit; Data Action; Data Feminism; Designing Publics; All Data Are Local; A City is not a Computer; Digital Participatory Planning - Citizen Engagement, Democracy, and Design; The Data Revolution: Big Data, Open Data, Data Infrastructure and their Consequences. (May, 2022)

πŸ™Œ Xiaofan attempted leading sessions at 2022 Annual Conference of American Geographers (AAG)! She not only presented her work Spatial Social Network (SSN) Hot Spot Detection: Scan Methods for Non-Planar Networks, but also organized a session (as a session chair) called Advancing Spatial and Social Networks in GIS and help organize another session called Perspectives and Tensions in Urban Redevelopment. (Feb, 2022).

πŸ”ˆ Xiaofan presented her collaborative work with the City of Savannah Detecting Vacant, Abandoned, and Disinvested (VAD) Properties in Savannah, Georgia using Human-in-the-loop Machine Learning at the Annual Conference of Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). (Oct 2021).

Recent Publications

(2022). Data-driven Humanitarian Mapping and Policymaking: Toward Planetary-Scale Resilience, Equity, and Sustainability. In Proceedings of the 28th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD ’22), August 14–18, 2022, Washington, DC, USA (Workshop Summary).

Cite Project PDF Workshop Website

(2022). Characteristics of Jetters and Little Boxes: An Extensibility Study Using the Neighborhood Connectivity Survey. Social Inclusion, 10(3), https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v10i3.5366.

PDF Cite Project DOI

(2021). A Review of Spatial Network Insights and Methods in the Context of Planning: Applications, Challenges, and Opportunities. In book: Urban Informatics and Future Cities (pp.71-91).

PDF Cite Project DOI Slides

(2021). Measuring McCities: Landscapes of chain and independent restaurants in the United States. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 49(2), 585-602.

PDF Cite Project DOI Poster

(2021). Systematic shifts in scaling behavior based on organizational strategy in universities. PloS one, 16 (10), e0254582.

PDF Cite Project DOI News

Projects

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Place social diversity explorer
A D3 explorer to show the racial and income diversity of people visiting point of interests (POI) in Atlanta. What kinds of POI are most/least diverse and where do they locate?
Place social diversity explorer
Detecting vacant, abandoned, and disinvested properties in Savannah Georgia through human-in-the-loop machine learning
What are the main factors that are predictive of blighted properties in the city of Savannah? How can we build a predictive model with housing experts’ local knowledge “in the loop”?
Detecting vacant, abandoned, and disinvested properties in Savannah Georgia through human-in-the-loop machine learning
Measuring McCities: Landscapes of chain and independent restaurants in the United States
Which cities most resemble McCities? What kinds of built environment and sociodemographic characteristics are associated with the prevelance of chain restaurants?
Measuring McCities: Landscapes of chain and independent restaurants in the United States
Systematic shifts in scaling behavior based on organizational strategy in universities
Some colleges are mammals, others are cities. How scale of universities affect factors like tuition, research production, and teaching salaries? What are the tradeoffs and constraints for universities to be scale efficiently?
Systematic shifts in scaling behavior based on organizational strategy in universities