Yan Zhang

City Science
  • Research Assistant

Yan Zhang (Ryan) is a PhD student in City Science research group at the MIT Media Lab. His current focus is developing and deploying CityScope – an AI-enabled urban decision support system that democratizes the urban decision-making process in an early stage. This dynamic LEGO city model gives people the right tools to understand and participate the urban design intuitively. CityScope includes an interactive LEGO model of the city for rapid-prototyping design options, real-time simulations, and AR visualizations, informing the users of the multi-dimensional performance of the city, and an AI assistant providing the users with suggestions and insights. 

Ryan has a background in architecture design with a special emphasis on computational design for more than ten years. He holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University. He worked as an architect for two world-leading design firms, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and von Gerkan, Marg und Partner (GMP). His architecture practice includes parametric form-finding and all-phase-architectural design of Shanghai Oriental Sports Cen… View full description

Yan Zhang (Ryan) is a PhD student in City Science research group at the MIT Media Lab. His current focus is developing and deploying CityScope – an AI-enabled urban decision support system that democratizes the urban decision-making process in an early stage. This dynamic LEGO city model gives people the right tools to understand and participate the urban design intuitively. CityScope includes an interactive LEGO model of the city for rapid-prototyping design options, real-time simulations, and AR visualizations, informing the users of the multi-dimensional performance of the city, and an AI assistant providing the users with suggestions and insights. 

Ryan has a background in architecture design with a special emphasis on computational design for more than ten years. He holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University. He worked as an architect for two world-leading design firms, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and von Gerkan, Marg und Partner (GMP). His architecture practice includes parametric form-finding and all-phase-architectural design of Shanghai Oriental Sports Center. As an architect, he developed a strong sense of design and skills of concept sketching, 3D modeling, physical model fabrication, performance simulation, construction coordination, etc.

Ryan also worked as a research assistant for Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) on a variety of interdisciplinary projects focusing on data visualization, optimization, complex geometry, machine learning, and more.