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 on various spatial scales: 1) how human activities or cities are organized spatially and socially from network perspectives, and 2) how built environment and point of interests support/suppress human connections in contentious urban space. My approaches are largely inspired by the field of network science, complex system, and critical & participatory approaches in GIS and planning, and therefore ground my research in the pursuit of authentic human connections and social inclusion in cities.

My dissertation focuses on understanding the costs, tradeoffs, and impacts of material (built environment) infrastructure of spatial and social connectivity in city. I ask 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. While 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”ˆ [New!] I was invited by prof. Xiang ‘Jacob’ Yan to give a guest lecture titled “Spatial Networks Application in Transportation Planning” at his class “Applied Data Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering” at University of Florida. The lecture will feature my publication A Review of Spatial Network Insights and Methods in the Context of Planning: Applications, Challenges, and Opportunities and my dissertation projects using network analytics to examine the role of airport and metro stations (Dec 1st, 2022).

πŸ”ˆ [New!] I presented my dissertation project Capturing the Social Impact of Demolishing a Historic Street for a New Subway Station: Evidence from a Participatory GIS Survey in Guangzhou, China at ACSP 2022 conference in Toronto (Nov 3rd, 2022).

πŸ”ˆ [New!] I was invited to Dr. Andrew L. Tan Data Science Institute at De La Salle University (Philippines) to give a seminar talk about Detecting Vacant, Abandoned, and Disinvested (VAD) Properties in Savannah, Georgia using Human-in-the-loop Machine Learning Oct 12, 2022 09:00 AM in Asia/Manila. Register the talk here.

πŸ”ˆ [New!] My and Clio’s research on chain restaurants was featured by the Washington Post, CNN, Bloomberg, FiveThirtyEight, and Georgia Public Broadcasting. We released a 2021 restaurant dataset and I created a Mapbox JS data viz for exploration (Oct 1st, 2022).

πŸ’° I 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)

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

πŸ™Œ I was 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 was part of ACM KDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining Hybrid Conference on Aug 15, 2022. Download Workshop proceeding PDF.

πŸ“„ My 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 I has passed my doctoral comprehensive exam! The major exam is on Human-centered Approaches to Urban Analytics and minor exam is on Digital Civics! (May 2022)

πŸ™Œ I led sessions at 2022 Annual Conference of American Geographers (AAG)! I not only presented my work Spatial Social Network (SSN) Hot Spot Detection: Scan Methods for Non-Planar Networks, but also become the session chair at the session: Advancing Spatial and Social Networks in GIS and the co-organizer at session: Perspectives and Tensions in Urban Redevelopment. (Feb, 2022).

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).

PDF Cite Project DOI Workshop Website

(2022). Characteristics of Jetters and Little Boxes: An Extensibility Study Using the Neighborhood Connectivity Survey. Social Inclusion, 10(3).

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