Li Yin

Associate Professor - Department of Urban and Regional Planning - Hayes Hall 331 - (716) 829-5883

Associate Professor - Department of Urban and Regional Planning - Hayes Hall 331 - (716) 829-5883

Li Yin headshot.

My research focuses on practical applications of spatial models, joining amenity and location theory with applied GIS and simulation methods to explore the complexity and dynamic processes of urban systems for environmental planning, urban design, and sustainable development.

Building upon research across disciplines on innovative methods, I study the impact of amenity on urban growth and the built environment to help understand location choices and the dynamics of growth and decline. To advance this research I have been working in a rapid development area which draws on planning and computing as well as several other related fields to develop strategies for sustainably managing smart urban community growth and change. I have played a key role in several funded research projects totaling several million dollars, working with researchers representing various disciplines and types of organizations across Colorado, Utah, and New York.


Dr. Yin's research focuses on computer technology applications in a wide variety of urban growth issues and inner city redevelopment. She is interested in exploring new tools which enable high level of visualization, simulations, 3-D modeling, and database management to construct scenarios and evaluate alternatives to facilitate better communication and increase the efficiency in the planning process.


Ph.D., University of Colorado, Design and Planning
M.S., Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand, Urban Planning, Land and Housing Development
B.S., Kunming University of Science and Technology, Kunming, P.R.China, Architecture


Dr. Yin's teaching portfolio reflects her concentration on technological applications in the field of urban and regional planning. She teaches three classes: an undergraduate course, Computing for Environmental Analysis; and two graduate electives, GIS Applications and Planning Support System and Advanced GIS.

Public Service

Dr. Yin actively engages in public service focusing on public health and the built environment in the Buffalo-Niagara Region.

Selected Publications

  • *Wang, C., *Yin, F., *Zhao, Y., and Yin, L.#2023. Making Transportation Systems In U.S. Cities Smarter and More Inclusive: A Synthesis of Challenges and Evaluation of Strategies. International Journal of Geo-Information. 12(2). 72
  • *Wang, C.  and Yin, L. 2023. Defining ‘Urban Big Data’ in Urban Planning: A Literature Review. Journal of Urban Planning and Development. 149(1).
  • Yin, L., and Silverman, R. (2022): Spatial Clustering of Property Abandonment In Shrinking Cities: A Case Study of Targeted Demolition In Buffalo, NY’s African American Neighborhoods, Urban Geography, DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2022.2142404
  • *Yin, F. , Crooks, A. and Yin, L. 2022. Information Propagation on Cyber, Relational and Physical Spaces about Covid-19 Vaccine: Using Social Media and Splatial   
  •       Framework. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 98
  • Yin, L. and *Zhang H#. 2021. Building Walkable and Safe Neighborhoods: Assessing the Built Environment Characteristics for Pedestrian Safety in Buffalo, NY. Journal of Transport & Health. 22.
  • Yin, L., Patterson, K.L., Silverman, R.M, *Wu, L., and *Zhang, H. 2020. Neighborhood Accessibility and Walkability of Subsidized Housing in Shrinking U.S. Cities. Urban Studies.  59(2). pp323-340 
  • Zhang, H. and Yin, L. 2020. The Application of Big Data in Assessing the Built Environment for Public Health: A Literature Review (In Chinese) ShangHai Urban Planning Review. 137(5) pp 36-40.
  • Yin, L., Zhang, H., Patterson, K., Silverman, R. M., and Wu, L. (2020). Walkability, safety, and housing values in Shrinking cities: A Spatial Hedonic Study in Buffalo, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, and Detroit, MI. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 146(3).
  • Zhang, H. and Yin, L. 2020 The Impact of the Built Environment on Pedestrian Safety and Walkability: A Literature Review and Case Study (In Chinese) ShangHai Urban Planning Review, 134(3) pp 57-62.
  • Silverman, R.M., Taylor, H., Yin, L., *Miller, C. and *Buggs, P. (2020). Are we still going through the empty ritual of participation?: Inner-city residents’ and other grassroots stakeholders' perceptions of public input and neighborhood revitalization. Critical Sociology 46(3), pp413-428
  • Wu, L., Hu, S., He, Z., Yin, L., Xu, Y., Cui, H. (2020). A framework for extracting urban functional regions based on multiprototype word embeddings using points-of-interest data. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 80
  • Silverman, R.M., Yin, L. and Taylor, H.L. 2020. Managing competing interests in the public participation process: Lessons from an analysis of residential displacement in Buffalo New York’s transitioning neighborhoods. Pp. 211-223, in Research handbook on community development, edited by Rhoda Phillips, New York: Routledge. Yin, L., Wu, L., Cole, S. and Wu, LY. (2019). Synthesizing Data to Explore the Dynamic Spatial Patterns of Hotel Development International Journal of Geo-Information.
  • Silverman, R.M., Taylor, H., Yin, L., Miller, C. and Buggs, P. (2019). Are we still going through the empty ritual of participation?: Inner-city residents’ and other grassroots stakeholders' perceptions of public input and neighborhood revitalization. Critical Sociology
  • Silverman, R.M., Taylor, H.T., Yin, L., Miller, C. and Buggs, P. 2019. Place making as a form of place taking: Residential displacement and grassroots resistance to institutional encroachment in Buffalo, NY. Journal of Place Management and Development 12(4) pp566-580.
  • Cui, H., Wu, L., He, Z., Hu, S., Ma, K., Yin, L., Tao, L. 2019. Exploring Multidimensional Spatiotemporal Point Patterns Based on an Improved Affinity Propagation Algorithm International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 16(11) 1988
  • Silverman, R.M., Taylor, H., Yin, L., Miller, C. and Buggs, P. 2019. There goes our family friendly neighborhood: Residents’ perceptions of institutionally driven inner-city revitalization in Buffalo, NY Journal of Community Practice. pp168-187
  • Jia, P., Xue, H., Yin, L., Stein, A. Wang, M. and Wang, F. 2019. Spatial technologies in obesity research: current Applications and future promise. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism. 30(3). pp211-223
  • Zhang, H. and Yin, L. 2019. A Meta-analysis of the Literature on the Association between the Social and Built Environment and Obesity: Identifying Factors in Need of More In-depth Research. American Journal of Health Promotion 33(5) pp792-805
  • Silverman, R.M., Taylor, H.T., Yin, L., Miller, C. and Buggs, P. 2018. Perceptions of Residential Displacement and Grassroots Resistance to Anchor Driven Encroachment in Buffalo, NY. Urbanities. 8(2).pp79-86
  • Zhang, H. and Yin, L. 2018. Spatial Clustering of Pedestrian Activity and the Built Environment Characteristics. Nano Life. 8(2), 1840005
  • Wu, L., Hu, S., Yin, L., Wang, Y., Chen, Z., Guo, M., Chen, H., and Xie, Z. 2017. Optimizing Cruising Routes for Taxi Drivers Using a Spatio-temporal Trajectory Model International Journal of Geo-Information. 6, pp373-393
  • Zhang, H. and Yin, L. 2017 Building Healthy Cities: Applying Spatial Technology in the Public Health Research (In Chinese) ShangHai Urban Planning Review, 134(3) pp 57-62.
  • Yin, L. 2017. Street Level Urban Design Qualities for Walkability: Combining 2D and 3D GIS Measures Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 64, pp288-296
  • Silverman, R.M., Yin, L. and Patterson, K.L. 2017. Siting Affordable Housing in Opportunity Neighborhoods: An Assessment of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Mapping Tool, Journal of Community Practice 25(2), pp143-158
  • Patterson, K.L., Ranahan, M., Silverman, R.M. and Yin, L. 2017. Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs): A Typology for Shrinking Cities. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 37(3/4), pp231-247.
  • Yin, L. and Wang Z. 2016. Measuring Visual Enclosure for Street Walkability: Using Machine Learning Algorithms and Google Street View Imagery Applied Geography 76, pp147-153.
  • Shao, Z., Fu, H., Fu, P., and Yin, L. 2016. Mapping Urban Impervious Surface by Fusing Optical and SAR data Based on the Random Forests and D-S Theory. Remote Sensing 8(11), 945
  • Patterson, K.L., Silverman, R.M, Yin, L. and Wu, L. 2016. Neighborhoods of Opportunity: Developing an Operational Definition for Planning and Policy Implementation. Journal of Public Management and Social Policy. 22(3) pp142-153.
  • Yin, L., Cheng, Q., Wang, Z. and Shao, Z. 2015. ‘Big Data’ for Pedestrian Volume: Exploring the use of Google Street View Images for Pedestrian Counts. Applied Geography 63, pp337-345
  • Silverman, R.M., Patterson, K.L., Yin, L., and Wu, L.2015. Neighborhood characteristics and the location of HUD-subsidized housing in shrinking cities: An analysis to inform anchor-based urban revitalization strategies. Community Development 46(5), pp632-651
  • Yin, L. and Silverman, R.M. 2015. Housing Abandonment and Demolition: Exploring the Use of Micro-level and Multi-year Models. International Journal of Geo-Information. 4. pp1184-1200
  • Solhyon, B. Raja, S., Park, J., Epstein, L., Yin, L., and Roemmich, J. 2015. Park Design and Children’s Active Play: A Micro-Scale Spatial Analysis of Intensity of Play in Olmsted’s Delaware Park. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 42(6). pp1079-1097
  • Hajrasouliha, A. and Yin, L. 2015. The Impact of Street Network Connectivity on Pedestrian Movement. Urban Studies. 52(13). pp2483-2497
  • Silverman, R.M., Yin, L., and Patterson, K.L. 2015. Municipal property acquisition patterns in a shrinking city: Evidence for the persistence of an urban growth paradigm in Buffalo, NY. Cogent Social Sciences. 1, pp1-22
  • Feda, D. M., Seelbinder, A., Baek, S., Raja, S., Yin, L., and Roemmich, J. N. 2015. Neighbourhood Parks and Reduction in Stress among Adolescents: Results from Buffalo, New York. Indoor and Built Environment. 24(5) pp631-639
  • Huang, H. and Yin, L. 2015. Creating sustainable urban built environments: An application of hedonic house price models in Wuhan, China. Journal of Housing and Built Environment. 30. pp219-235
  • Yin, L. and Shiode, N. 2014. “3D Spatial-Temporal GIS Model of Urban Environments for Supporting the Designing and Planning Process. Journal of Urbanisim: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability. 7(2). pp152-169
  • Yin, L., Raja, S., Li, X., Lai, Y., Epstein, L. H., and Roemmich, J. N. 2013. Neighborhood for Playing: Using GPS, GIS, and Accelerometry to Delineate Areas within which Youth are Physically Active. Urban Studies, 50(14), pp2922-2939
  • Yin, L. 2013. Assessing Walkability in the City of Buffalo: An Application of Agent-Based Simulation, Journal of Urban Planning and Development. 139(3). pp166-175
  • Silverman, R.M., Yin, L., and Patterson, K. 2013. Dawn of the Dead City: An Exploratory Analysis of Vacant Addresses in Buffalo, NY 2008-2010. Journal of Urban Affairs 35(2), pp131-152
  • Yin, L. 2010. “Modeling Cumulative Effects of Wildfire Hazard Policy and Exurban Household Location Choices: An Application of Agent-based Simulations.” Planning Theory and Practice 11(3), pp375-396
  • Yin, L. 2010. “Integrating 3D Visualization and GIS in Planning Education,” Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 34(3), pp419-438.
  • Raja, S., Yin, L., Roemmich, J., Ma, C., Epstein, L., Yadav, P. and Ticoalu, A. 2010. “Food environment, Built Environment, and Women's BMI: Evidence from Erie County, New York” Journal of Planning Education and Research, 29(4), pp444-460.
  • Muller, B. and Yin, L. 2010. “Regional Governance and Hazard Information: The Role of Co-ordinated Risk Assessment and Regional Spatial Accounting in Wildfire Hazard Mitigation”. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 53(1), pp1-21.
  • Yin, L. 2009. “The Dynamics of Residential Segregation in Buffalo: An Agent- Based Simulation” Urban Studies 46(13), pp2749-2770.
  • Muller, B., Yin, L., Kim, Y., and Alexanderescu, F. 2008. “The Dynamics of Land Development in Resort Communities: A Multiagent Simulation of Growth Regimes and Housing Choice” Environment and Planning A 40(7), pp1728-1743.
  • Yin, L. and Muller, B. 2008. “Urbanization and Resort Regions: Creating an Agent-based Simulation of Housing Density in ‘Ski Country’” Journal of Urban Technology, 15(2), pp55-75.
  • Yin, L. and Hastings, J. 2007. “Capitalizing on Views: Assessing Visibility Using 3D Visualization and GIS Technologies for Hotel Development in the City of Niagara Falls, USA” Journal of Urban Technology, 14(3), pp59-82.
  • Yin, L. 2007. “Assessing Indirect Spatial Effects of Mountain Tourism Development: An Application of Agent-based Spatial Modeling” Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, 37(3), pp257-265.
  • Yin, L. and Muller, B. 2007. “Residential Location and the Biophysical Environment: Exurban Development Agents in a Heterogeneous Landscape” Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 34(2), pp279-295.
  • Roemmich, J. N., Epstein, L. H., Raja, S., and Yin, L. 2007. “The Neighborhood and Home Environments: Disparate Relationships with Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors in Youth” Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 33(1) pp 29-38.
  • Yin, L. 2006. “Agent-based Simulations for Disaster Decision Support” Journal of Security Education, 1(4) pp169-175.
  • Roemmich, J. N., Epstein, L. H., Raja, S., Yin, L., Robinson, J., and Winiewicz, D. 2006. “Association of Access to Parks and Recreational Facilities with the Physical Activity of Young Children” Preventive Medicine, 43(6) pp 437-441.