Professor Yan Liu

Professor

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science
yan.liu@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 56483

Overview

Professor Yan Liu is a Spatial Data Scientist and a Quantitative Human Geographer, specialising in Geographical Information Science (GIS), urban modelling and geo-simulation, spatial data analytics, and spatially integrated social studies. Her research focuses on developing cutting-edge methods for the collection, analysis and modelling of spatial data in order to provide science-based decision tools and data-driven solutions to a range of social-environmental challenges that we face in our urban and regional space. Her research is multidisciplinary in nature, connecting human geography with geomatic engineering, environmental, social and behavioural sciences and spatial science education through the innovative use of spatial data and technologies, with the overall aim to advance human knowledge and understanding of the spatial evolution of cities, the underpinning driving forces, the interactions between people and the physical and built-environment they live in, along with the planning of resilient cities and communities in response to the global challenges such as population growth, ageing, climate change and global pandemics. In the era of Big Data, the analysis of space, place and people—through the use of spatial (big) data—becomes pivotal in developing a holistic and grassroots understanding of our cities in order to achieve sustainable and healthy living in our urban space. Yan's profound expertise in GIS and spatial data analytics as well as her broad general knowledge across multiple disciplines enables her to tackle these important social-spatial issues necessarily from a multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspective. Yan is currently serving at the ARC College of Experts (2022-2024), in the Scientific Advisory Board of the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) (2021-2023), and in the Executive Committee of the International Geographical Union (IGU) Applied Geography Commission (2021-2023), amongst others.

Research Interests

  • Urban Modelling and Geo-Simulation
    My work focus on developing cellular automat (CA) models to understand the spatio-temporal patterns, processes, and drivers of urban growth; and modelling human-environment interactions through scenario planning and geo-simulation. More recent work focuses on understanding how the decision behaviours of various stakeholders impact on the spatio-temporal processes of urban growth through an integrated CA and agent based modelling (ABM) approach. I am currently recruiting PhD students to work on: 1) developing an irregular parcel based CA and 3D CA model to simulate vertical urban growth in Brisbane; 2) a cross-cultural comparison/validation of a CA-ABM model to simulate urban growth dynamics.
  • Spatial Data Analytics
    I am interested in all aspects of spatial data analytics, including big data and spatio-temporal data mining tools and methods, with the aim to enhance our understanding on a range of social geographical and health related issues. Some on-going research in the field include: analysis and modelling of public transport services and human mobility and travel behaviours using smart card data; mining of large scale administrative data to understand (un)-neighbourliness and neighbourhood disorders; modelling of spatial access to green space, health and other services and facilities to identify disparity and inequalities.
  • 3D modelling and Geo-Visualisation
    My work in this field focuses on spatial visualisation, 3D GIS and applications in spatial skills development and education. I am currently working on a project to develop a 3D city model and implement a sequential technology-enabled curriculum in Urban Planning using 3D modelling techniques to enhance students' spatial skills and become work-ready planners.

Research Impacts

Professor Liu's research addresses a range of socio-spatial challenges in our urban and regional environments through the development of spatially-integrated research approaches which incorporate spatial data mining and big/small data analytics. Her research includes (but not limited to) accessibility, inequalities in housing and healthcare services, and neighbour interactions, in the context of ever-changing human–environment conditions such as urbanisation, population growth and climate change. Her research contributes to advance our understanding of the spatial evolutions of cities, to create new and much-needed science-based decision tools for optimising government policymaking, and to mitigate risk and improve policy outcomes for communities.

Current projects:

  • The Australian Transport Research Cloud (ATRC) (2020-2023). This project aims to provide a common platform (data, storage, compute and tools) to support the needs of the Australian transport research community.
  • Universitas Diponegoro (2021-2023). Adaptation to flood and inundation of the north Java coastal community towards the sustainability of aquaculture activities: The cases of Pekalongan, Tegal, and Semarang, Indonesia
  • National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) funded project (2019-2022). Ventilation based planning methods to respond urban haze supported by multi-source spatial-temporal big data.

Completed projects:

  • ARC DP (2017-2020). New approaches to modelling human-environment interactions for sustainable coastal city development: spatial complexity, cellular automata and agent-based models.
  • Fund of Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science (Ministry of Education), East China Normal University (2019-2020). Coastal cities: environmental evolution, climate change, and human adaptation.
  • QLD Gov’t Community Sustainability Action Grants (2018-20). Improved offsets for koala conservation.
  • UQ Transport & Population Research Network (TPRN) Seed Fund (2019). Understanding socio-spatial connectedness for older people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds: Testing a mixed-methods approach.
  • Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) (2018-19). Ageing well: Place, belonging, and well-being of older Chinese in Australia and China.
  • Ministry of Research, Technology, and High Education, Indonesia (2016-18). The role of spatial planning towards better resilience to hydro-meteorological hazard. Case study: Coast area of Semarang City.
  • Faculty of Science T&L Grant (2019-2020). Collaborative online learning for Geographic Information Science
  • ARC DP (2015-2017). Un-neighbourliness: The nature, causes and outcomes of problems between neighbours using survey and large scale administrative data.
  • UQ FirstLink project (2016-2017). Analyse and map mild stoke outcomes and untreated deficits using GIS approach.
  • UQ Property and Facilities Division funded project (2015-2018) to analyse UQ public transport commuters' travel patterns and behabiours using go card and survey data.

Qualifications

  • Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland

Publications

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Grants

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Supervision

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • This project draws on the understanding of the physical and eco-system evolution from existing research to develop an integrated modelling framework to simulate and plan for the spatial and temporal processes of urban development under the impact of climate change and human adaptation strategies. Specifically, it aims to 1) model contemporary urban development, urban morphology and settlement patterns to better understand the influence of different scenarios on the coastal city; 2) evaluate the impacts associated with urban development over different time horizons. Impacts may include transportation costs, land consumption, physical infrastructure costs, and changes in productivity as well as sustainability indicators; and 3) project future urban development as a means of testing uncertain environmental futures. If interested in working on this project please contact me at yan.liu@uq.edu.au.

  • Place-based health planning is an effective and innovative approach to health planning that is developed drawing on local demographic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors. It identifies and prioritises local health needs and develops and delivers locally-led, evidence-based solutions. Place-based approaches are collaborative endeavours which aim to create systematic changes for long-term outcomes by fostering community partnerships and bringing together efforts across the community, service providers and government levels. An important part of place-based planning is to understand the needs of communities. Such a planning process can be facilitated using Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS). PPGIS is a spatial tool that can be used to engage the local communities and residents to capture their local knowledge, and advance their needs and goals for health services. Therefore, this PhD project aims at developing a PPGIS approach to engage local residents in order to understand and prioritise their health needs, enablers and barriers impacting on their acces to health services in order to develop planning interventions to meet people’s health needs and improve their health outcomes. If interested in working on this project please contact me at yan.liu@uq.edu.au.

  • The emergence of open and new data available from various sources have presented significant opportunities for research in the urban sciences. Entering into the new era of big data, ever-increasing quantities at near real time will ultimately change the ways in which human agents interact with each other and with the urban space they occupy and transform; these pose new challenges to urban modellers and researchers, and much effort should be devoted to conquer the aforementioned big data challenges. In this context, I welcome any project that aims at developing novel approaches for spatial (big) data monitoring, analytics, modelling and simulation in order to addresses a range of socio-spatial challenges in our urban and regional environments, including (but not limited to) accessibility, inequalities in housing and healthcare services, and neighbour interactions, in the context of ever-changing human–environment conditions such as urbanisation, population growth and climate change. If interested in working on this project please contact me at yan.liu@uq.edu.au.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • This project draws on the understanding of the physical and eco-system evolution from existing research to develop an integrated modelling framework to simulate and plan for the spatial and temporal processes of urban development under the impact of climate change and human adaptation strategies. Specifically, it aims to 1) model contemporary urban development, urban morphology and settlement patterns to better understand the influence of different scenarios on the coastal city; 2) evaluate the impacts associated with urban development over different time horizons. Impacts may include transportation costs, land consumption, physical infrastructure costs, and changes in productivity as well as sustainability indicators; and 3) project future urban development as a means of testing uncertain environmental futures. If interested in working on this project please contact me at yan.liu@uq.edu.au.

  • Place-based health planning is an effective and innovative approach to health planning that is developed drawing on local demographic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors. It identifies and prioritises local health needs and develops and delivers locally-led, evidence-based solutions. Place-based approaches are collaborative endeavours which aim to create systematic changes for long-term outcomes by fostering community partnerships and bringing together efforts across the community, service providers and government levels. An important part of place-based planning is to understand the needs of communities. Such a planning process can be facilitated using Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS). PPGIS is a spatial tool that can be used to engage the local communities and residents to capture their local knowledge, and advance their needs and goals for health services. Therefore, this PhD project aims at developing a PPGIS approach to engage local residents in order to understand and prioritise their health needs, enablers and barriers impacting on their acces to health services in order to develop planning interventions to meet people’s health needs and improve their health outcomes. If interested in working on this project please contact me at yan.liu@uq.edu.au.

  • The emergence of open and new data available from various sources have presented significant opportunities for research in the urban sciences. Entering into the new era of big data, ever-increasing quantities at near real time will ultimately change the ways in which human agents interact with each other and with the urban space they occupy and transform; these pose new challenges to urban modellers and researchers, and much effort should be devoted to conquer the aforementioned big data challenges. In this context, I welcome any project that aims at developing novel approaches for spatial (big) data monitoring, analytics, modelling and simulation in order to addresses a range of socio-spatial challenges in our urban and regional environments, including (but not limited to) accessibility, inequalities in housing and healthcare services, and neighbour interactions, in the context of ever-changing human–environment conditions such as urbanisation, population growth and climate change. If interested in working on this project please contact me at yan.liu@uq.edu.au.