Professor and Associate ChairDepartment of Urban Environmental Planning and Policy, Tufts University

503 Boston Avenue, Medford, MA 02155; 

Email: Peilei.Fan <at> tufts<dot> edu

Lead, Global Urban Environmental and Socioeconomic Sustainability (GUESS) Lab 

President,  International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE)

See the most recent news bulletin of IALE here.

Co-Editor-in-Chief, Landscape and Urban Planning (Mar. 2024 -)

Adjunct Professor, School of Planning, Design & Construction   & Center for Global Change and Earth Observations (CGCEO) @ Michigan State University

World's Top 2% Scientists for both career impact (1960-2023) and impact in Year 2022 (the most updated year) by John P.A.Ioannidis at Stanford University and Elsevier, published on Oct. 4, 2023

Opportunity: I am recruiting two postdoctoral research associates. See details here.  

A native of Shanghai in China, Dr. Peilei Fan received her BS in Computer Science and MS in Geography (Nanjing University), Master in City and Regional Planning (Rutgers University), and MS in Computer Science and Ph.D. in Economic development (MIT).  Her postdoc training was in the fields of innovation and urban development (United Nations University in Japan with Tokyo Institute of Technology and Tsukuba University).  

Dr. Fan is a Professor at Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University.  Before she joined Tufts in September 2023, she was a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at School of Planning, Design, and Construction (SPDC) and Center for Global Change and Earth Observation (CGCEO) at Michigan State University. She is one of ten MSU William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Awardees of 2022-2023. She was the interim director at CGCEO at MSU for 2021-22. Dr. Fan is passionate about achieving sustainability for cities and regions through efficient, just, and green processes and outcomes.  She studies urban environment and sustainability, innovation and economic development,  public health, and policies.  Her research projects have been funded by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Science Foundation (NSF) (> $5.3 million grants as a PI, > $7.8 million as PI/Co-PI).   Dr. Fan has served as a consultant/economist for the United Nations University –World Institute of Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and the Asian Development Bank.  She has given invited lectures and keynote speeches at different organizations & international conferences, including as a faculty member of Executive Education Program of J.F.K. School of Government, Harvard U. (2008, 2017) and keynote speech at "From Plans to Land Change" Conference organized by Swiss Federal Research Institute  (2020).  She is the President (2023-27) and Secretary General (2019-23) of International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) and the Deputy Director (2019-) and IALE-IUFRO Coordinator (2021-) of Landscape Ecology Working Party of International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).  She also serves the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP)'s Finance & Investment Committee and was the Track Co-Chair for Food Systems, Community Health and Safety (Track 9) (2019-21).  She is an Co-Editor-in-Chief (2024.3-), Associate Editor (2021-24), and Editorial Board Member (2019-21) of the flagship journal in the field of urban planning  “Landscape and Urban Planning.   She was a Core Fulbright US Senior Scholar for 2017-2018 (Taipei and Shanghai) and a Public Intellectuals Program Fellow of the National Committee on US-China Relations (2019-20). She has published 2 books and >80 peer-reviewed articles and been guest (co)editor for special issues of 6 academic journals, including as a lead author in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Environmental Research Letter, Landscape and Urban Planning, Environmental Research, and Landscape Ecology, and a co-author of Nature Communications. She served on the review panels for NASA, EPA, and Fulbright, and was ad-hoc reviewer for NSF and multiple international organizations and national organizations, including Global Land Project, UK Department of International Development, Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.  

Dr. Fan focuses on two lines of research that affect the sustainable future of a city/region/country: (1) human-natural interactions and their impact on environment and social equity at multiple spatial scales, particularly in cities, and (2) technology and development.  Her first line of research focuses on coupled human-nature interactions in urban context, featured several federal funded projects on urbanization and sustainability in China, transitional economies in Asia, and Globalization and Southeast Asia.  For the project on the transitional economies in Asia that she completed, she examined key socioeconomic and biophysical drivers, especially institutional mechanisms unique in transitional economies and global climate change, on spatiotemporal changes of urbanization and urban sustainability in Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, and the Asian Russia.  Currently, she is examining how diverse local responses to globalization affected land transitions, particularly urbanization, and urban environmental changes across 7  Southeast Asian countries, i.e., Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam and 12 case cities.  She is now leading a team of six senior researchers (1 PI, 5 co-Is) from 5 US universities, collaborating with 20+ researchers worldwide, to conduct a synthesis study on land transitions, its drivers, and socio-environmental impacts across the Urban-Rural Continuums (URC) in Southeast Asia, funded by NASA's Land Cover Land Use Change Program. She also leads an innovative study to examine the impact of climate change and socio/environmental factors on the spreading of Dengue fever in Peru, funded by NASA's Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science (IDS) Program.   Her second line of research examines the role of innovation for economic development in late industrializing countries, especially in East Asia and Eastern Europe and their linkages to global innovation centers, with four sub-topics: quantifying the contribution of innovation to economic development, sectoral development, global linkages through globalization of R&D and overseas returnees, and innovative city regions.  While she has researched on cities and sustainability worldwide, she is interested in promoting sustainability, economic development, urban environment, and public health of local communities in regions in the US. Please also see her detailed professional profile at Google Scholar.



Asian Development Bank (ADB) 


United Nations University – World Institute of Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) 



Research Areas

Interests: urban environment and sustainability, innovation and economic development, public health, and policy

Recent and On-going Projects: 


Recent Awards 


Google Scholar Profile and Citation

CV available upon request.