By Yuan Lai, digital innovations beyond data.


Yuan Lai is currently a PhD student in Urban Systems Engineering at New York University. He has a master’s in Applied Urban Science and Informatics from NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP). His research focuses on a combination of data science, urban systems, and city development.

Yuan also holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning from University at Buffalo, State University of New York, with dual-specializations in urban design and geographic information system (GIS) & spatial modeling and a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture, a minor in Law from Beijing Forestry University, where has top 1 landscape architecture program and best environmental engineering research in China. He is an Accredited Professional of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED AP), specialized in Neighborhood Development by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Prior to CUSP, he practiced as an architectural and urban designer in Moshe Safdie and Associates in Boston. He has been involved in various architectural design and master planning projects, especially large scale mixed-use development planning and design. He has worked on international projects and design competitions located in Beijing, Cartagena, Chongqing, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Israel and Singapore.

Yuan serves as a reviewer for multiple research journals on urban topics including Urban Studies and International Journal of Health Geographics. His publications focus on information system design, urban planning, public health and decision-support technology. He is an experienced tennis player.