Community-Based Modeling and Sustainable Management of Urban Food Waste: A Planning Framework and Case Study in Chicago

Ning Ai

University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Ning Ai is an assistant professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), with a joint appointment at the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy. Ning’s research and teaching interests focus on urban environmental planning, material and waste management, and system analysis of urban sustainability. Largely quantitative, her research involves multidisciplinary methods in support of material- and community-specific waste management, with a focus on electronic waste, post-consumer carpet, municipal solid waste, food waste, and electric vehicle batteries. She is lead author of the American Planning Association's publication on "Planning for Sustainable Material and Waste Management" (2017). She has worked for the World Bank, the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co., and the Georgia State Department of Natural Resources.


Food waste is the largest single component in the municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal stream in the U.S.; only 5% of discarded food is recovered or reused (U.S. EPA, 2015). Current practices of food waste management (FWM) not... [ view full abstract ]


  1. Ning Ai (University of Illinois at Chicago)
  2. Junjun Zheng (UIC)
  3. Xuan Shi (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville)

Topic Areas

• Socio-economic metabolism and material flow analysis , • Food, energy, water, and nutrient material flows and footprints , • Management and technology for sustainable and resilient energy, water, food, materials,


TS-23 » Sustainable food systems 1 (15:30 - Tuesday, 27th June, Room H)

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