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Tianren Yang

Tianren Yang

Tianren Yang

St John's College

Research Area: Applied Urban Modelling


Tianren Yang is a PhD candidate and Cambridge Trust Scholar at the Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies, University of Cambridge. His most recent research focuses on applied urban modelling, especially the recursive spatial equilibrium (RSE) model. The RSE model is to provide a scientific understanding of urban dynamics and its relationship with policy input, to deal with undesired consequences in multi-scale development schemes, and to bridge the gap between top-down urban development strategies and bottom-up urban growth.

His training in architecture (PhD, Cambridge), urban planning (MUP, Tongji), urban design (MS, Georgia Tech), and landscape architecture (BE, Tongji) has granted him with an understanding of city on multiple scales. These combine to make him interested in the application of multi-faceted knowledge to address increasingly complicated city concerns and further contribute to his dual role as both an academic and practitioner in the planning field.

Tianren's professional career has spanned work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. He was a research assistant for the Asian Development Bank, a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, a planner for Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute, and a chairman assistant for the International Green Campus Alliance. He currently serves as a part-time research fellow in the China Intelligent Urbanization Co-Creation Center, the UK Ambassador at the Association for European Transport, and a co-convenor of the Applied Urban Modelling Symposia.


(Collaborators from different disciplines but with the same interests in urban studies are extremely welcomed.)

Key Publications

Yang, T., Jin, Y., Yan, L., & Pei, P. (2019) Aspirations and Realities of Polycentric Development: Insights from Multi-source Data into the Emerging Urban Form of ShanghaiEnvironment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 46(7), 1264-1280. 

Yang, T., Pan, H., Hewings, G., & Jin, Y. (2019). Understanding urban sub-centers with heterogeneity in agglomeration economies—Where do emerging commercial establishments locate?. Cities, 86, 25-36.

Hu, L., Yang, J., Yang, T., Tu, Y., & Zhu, J. (in press) Urban Spatial Structure and Travel in ChinaJournal of Planning Literature. DOI: 10.1177/0885412219853259.

Yang, T. and Wu, Z. (2017) Mapping the Research Trends in U.S. Planning Schools from 2000 to 2014. Urban Planning Forum, 2017(4), 10-19. (in Chinese)

Yang, T. and Zhang, X. (2016) Benchmarking the Building Energy Consumption and Solar Energy Trade-offs of Residential Neighborhoods on Chongming Eco-Island, China. Applied Energy, 180, 792-799.

Lim, L., Yang, T., Vialard, A., Feng, C., and Peponis, J. (2015) Urban morphology and syntactic structure: a discussion of the relationship of block size to street integration in some settlements in the Provence. The Journal of Space Syntax, 6(1), 142-169.