Yichun Fan is a PhD student in Urban and Regional Economics, with research concentration in Environmental Policy and Planning. She is also a graduate researcher at MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab (SUL), where she is currently leading the Global Sentiment Project. She received her Master in City Planning from MIT and Bachelor in Environmental Engineering from Tsinghua University.
Yichun’s research examines human responses to the leading environmental and health threats in cities to support more effective and equitable urban sustainability policies. Her recent work couples large-scale social media data with natural language processing to construct novel indices of emotion & well-being, interpersonal interactions, and urban health & vibrancy. She then uses these indices to unveil the neglected social cost of environmental hazards and the latent (emotional/social) drivers of adaptation actions. Additionally, she has rich experience using various big data and causal inference techniques to evaluate the economic and social impacts of urban environmental policies: such as bike-sharing on road congestion, street pedestrianization on urban consumption, carbon trading market on technology innovation, etc. Her work has been published in journals like Nature Human Behavior, Nature Communications, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Environmental Research Letters, and Cities.