I am a City and Regional Planning PhD Candidate at Georgia Institute of Technology, working with Dr. Clio Andris at Friendly Cities Lab. I will be an Assistant Professor of Urban Data and Technology at Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, starting January 2024. My research interests are to support social life in cities and participatory/collaborative processes in planning through urban analytics. 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 past work studied social infrastructure in cities, such as restaurants, and the social and economic impacts of spatial social networks. My current work focuses on two themes: “Critical Connectivity,” which examines how urban infrastructure supports or hinders spatial social networks in cities, and “Participatory AI,” which explores how AI (i.e., anything driven by data and technology) can support, transform, or challenge participatory practices in planning.
Download my resumé .
MCRP/PhD in City and Regional Planning, 2019-2023
Georgia Institute of Technology
BS in Computational Science, 2015-2019
BA in Sociology, 2013-2015
University of California - Berkeley
📚 [New!] I will be defending my PhD dissertation Connectivity for whom and at what cost: Contesting network infrastructure duality in urban planning on Dec. 6th 10am-12pm ET timezone. The defense is open to the public and feel free to join online via https://gatech.zoom.us/my/xiaofanliang. Please email me for a Zoom meeting passcode. (Dec 6th, 2023).
📄 [New!] My new paper with collaborators titled Impacts of COVID-19 on Biodiversity Conservation and Community Networks at Kibale National Park, Uganda is published in The Professional Geographers for early view! In the paper, I mapped how COVID-19 affects the research field station employees’ economic networks (September 28th, 2023).
💰 [New!] I was awarded the 2023 ACSP Student Travel Award! Looking forward to friends and colleagues at Chicago in October! (Sept, 2023)
🙌 [New!] My lab Friendly Cities Lab is organizing a spatial social network workshop in Atlanta from May 18 to May 19! I will proudly present the R package and R tutorial I developed on SSN metrics and visualization in R. See workshop details here. Check out our SNOMAN (Social Network Mapping Nexus) website for more on-going work and SSN paper collection! (May, 18, 2023)
🔈 I was a panel speaker at the event Geography According to ChatGPT. Register the event here. I will share my exploration of ChatGPT’s performance at spatial social network reasoning and visualization (May 4th, 2023).
🏆 I was awarded the Professional Excellence Award by Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning! (April 26th, 2023)
📄 My new paper with collaborators titled Is your neighbor your friend? Scan methods for spatial social network hotspot detection is published in Transactions in GIS for early view! You can replicate the methods in this paper through SSNtools R package and R tutorial (more in-progress) (April 23th, 2023).
💰 I was awarded the 2023 ACSP Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship ($800) to support the writing and publication of 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 (March 30th, 2023)!
🔈 I organized the Participatory AI session at AAG 2023 with Prof. Renee Sieber, Prof. Xinyue Ye, and PhD Jiaxin Du. The session explored how AI can support or even transform traditional participatory practices, which includes public consultation, decision support, stakeholder engagement, and up to citizen control. I presented my research of human-in-the-loop machine learning (March 26th, 2023)!
🙌 I am proud to support my lab’s first Atlanta Environment Data + Mapping Hackathon (Feb 18th, 2023)!
🔈 I gave a guest lecture titled “Spatial Social Networks Application in PPGIS” at University of Waterloo “GEOG-609 GIS and Spatial Decision Support for Planning and Resource Management” (Feb 14th, 2023).
📚 I have defended my dissertation proposal Connectivity for whom and at what cost: Contesting network infrastructure duality in urban planning (Dec 15th, 2022)!
🔈 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).
🔈 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).