Master of Urban and Regional Planning
Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning


Curriculum Vitae

/ PhD Student

Meixin Yuan

Mei is a doctoral candidate in Urban and Regional Planning at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan. Her research centers around urban analytics and the use of emerging data and technologies in urban planning for sustainable and equitable urban futures. Working with Prof. Robert Goodspeed, Prof. Kimberley Kinder, Prof. Roshanak Mehdipanah, and Prof. Anthony Vanky, Mei’s dissertation focuses on creating actionable knowledge through mixed-method research applying big data and planning support systems (PSS) to understand and advance health equity in the Seven-County Southeast Michigan region. Beyond her dissertation, her research and work span the fields of transportation, scenario planning, social media, post-hazard assessment, eviction, and design. She served as a Ph.D. student co-coordinator in the 2022-23 academic year. She is currently working as co-lead coordinator with Taubman’s DEI team for the Taubman College Pathways program.

Mei received a dual master’s degree of Science in Information (UMSI), where she was trained in advanced data analytical techniques including big data analysis, machine learning, and natural language processing. Building on her design training from her undergraduate studies in landscape architecture, she also learned skills in data visualization, website design, web application design, and user-centered ICT design. Before her dual Ph.D. and MSI studies, Mei earned her master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Taubman College. She served as a representative for the Taubman College Student Council, worked as the vice-president of the Smart Cities Club, and was an editor for the student planning journal Agora. Her capstone project- Envisioning a decentralized compost system for Detroit – won the Outstanding Graduate Student Project award from the Michigan Association of Planning.

Mei taught as a Graduate Student Instructor in classes of Introductory GIS (URP 520, ENV 309), and Intermediate GIS (URP 521), and co-instructed an award-winning master’s capstone project with Prof. Vanky. She also accumulated professional experiences in China, the U.S., and South Africa.

“UM has a diverse student body with students from all over the world, which offers me a great chance to engage with people from different cultural backgrounds.”


Chengdu China

Current Location

Ann Arbor, MI United States

Degree Program(s)

M.U.R.P. Urban Planning Ph.D.

Expected Graduation Date


Academic Areas of Interest

Urban informatics, public health, urban technology

Hobbies or interests outside of academia

Painting, crafting

Why did you choose Taubman College as the right program for you?

When I was looking for master’s programs in urban planning a few years back, I had not decided whether I would continue my education or work in the industry after finishing my master’s degree. So, I was looking for a program that can help me grow professionally and academically. Initially, I was attracted by the MURP program at Taubman because of the wide range of focus areas in urban planning it offers. Besides, I was expecting the great opportunities that the University of Michigan would offer. It turned out that the MURP program was the perfect choice for me. The MURP curriculum and professional training have facilitated me with robust foundations to pursue further research and careers in urban planning. When I eventually decided to pursue a Ph.D. degree in urban planning, I did not hesitate to apply to Taubman again because of the supportive faculties and staff, and the excellent quality of education here.

What is special or excites you about the Taubman community?

We have a very inclusive and supportive community at Taubman. I could not appreciate more for all the help I received from our faculty, staff, and MURP and URP Ph.D. cohorts. I am an international student and my MURP program was my first experience studying abroad. It was definitely challenging to me but I felt very fortunate to be in the Taubman community. Taubman has been dedicated to DEI and is trying to foster an inclusive culture. I feel respected and accepted as part of the community.

If applicable, tell us about studio culture – what is inspiring or innovative or unique?

The MURP capstone studio was definitely a highlight of my experience at Taubman. The MURP capstone offers students with project-based experience with real-world clients. With the capstone studio, we acquired hands-on experience in team collaboration, project management, and community outreach. We were also allowed to frame the project in our own ways and explore the aspects that we were most interested in.

Describe your experience with faculty and professional staff during your time at Taubman?

Our faculty and professional staff are always striving to help students excel and support their pursuits. My recent experience just shows how dedicated our faculty and staff are to students’ success. In 2021, I decided to pursue a dual master’s degree in the science of information given my interests in urban informatics. I received so much support from faculty members and staff for achieving this ambitious plan. It is impossible for me to navigate the application process, degree requirements, and funding resources without their help. They have made a lot of efforts to ensure that I am on the right track for both of the degrees.

How has Taubman’s career and professional development support prepared you for a successful career in your chosen field?

The career development office is a great resource for our professional development. They helped me review resumes, prepare interviews, and facilitate career workshops and externship experiences. I got an internship opportunity because of the connections I built during my externship.

What benefits have you experienced being part of the University of Michigan?

There are so many benefits of being a wolverine. In a huge institution with more than 250 disciplines, there are incredible opportunities to explore any field of my interest. As a craft lover, courses like ceramics are definitely a plus. Besides, there are also many funding opportunities from the graduate school and other UM institutions. I was able to fund my MURP degree for two semesters by working as a GSI. Additionally, our great alumni network is definitely an asset. I received a lot of help for my work from the excellent professionals and scholars who were either alumni or worked with UM alumni. Last but not the least, UM has a diverse student body with students from all over the world, which offers me a great chance to engage with people from different cultural backgrounds.

What do you like most about being part of the Ann Arbor community?

Ann Arbor is a safe and vibrant college town. I love the downtown and Kerrytown areas which have great restaurants and interesting shops. The summer in Ann Arbor is also unbeatable!

What advice would you give prospective students as they consider Taubman College?

If you also have interests in working in interdisciplinary fields like me, you may want to check out dual-degree or certificate programs and plan early if you would like to pursue additional credentials.

What are your plans after graduation?

I would like to work on academic or industry positions regarding urban informatics/urban technologies.