Prof Xuemei Bai

Professor of Urban Environment & Human Ecology
Fenner School of Environment & Society

Distinguished Professor Bai joined ANU in 2011, as a professor of Urban Environment and Human Ecology at the Fenner School of Environment and Society. Prio to ANU, she was a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO, visiting professor at Yale University, and senior researcher at environmental research institutes in Japan. She is a Visiting Professor at The University of Tokyo.

Professor Bai's research focuses on several frontiers of urban sustainability science and policy, including drivers and consequence of urbanization, structure, function, processes, and evolution of urban socio-ecological systems, urban metabolism, urban sustainability experiments and transition, cities and climate change, and urban environmental policy and governance, and cross scale translations between planetary level boundaries and targets into cities.

Professor Bai authored/co-authored over 100 publications, including several in Nature and Science. She served as a Lead Author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the Global Energy Assessment, and is a Lead Author for IPBES Global Assessment and IPCC AR6. She delivered invited lectures/seminars at top academic institutions as well as many international conferences and science/policy forums. She supervised award-winning PhD and Honours students.

Professor Bai served as an inaugural member of the Science Committee of Future Earth where she ha been leading the development of the Urban Knowledge-Action Network, and a Council member of International Society of Industrial Ecology. She served as the Vice Chair of the Science Committee of the International Human Dimensional Program for Global Environmental Change (IHDP); Science Steering Committee of IHDP Industrial Transformation Core Project; and Steering Committee of US National Academies Sustainable Cities Initiative. She served on the European Research Council assessment panels for Consolidator and Advanced grants, and was a member of Global LafargeHolcim Award Jury for 2018. She is a Deputy Editor of Global Sustainability, and serves on the Editorial Board of Current Opinion of Environmental Sustainability; Environment; Computer, Environment and Urban Systems; Ecosystem Health and Sustainability; Urbanization; International Journal of Sustainable Cities and Society. She is a member of Earth Commission, where she co-leads its Working Group 5 on cross scale translation of integrated planetary level targets into cities and businesses.

She is a Fellow of Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia since 2017, and was named one of the World's 100 Most Influential People in Cliamte Change Policy in 2019. She is the 2018 Laureate of the Volvo Environment Prize.

Research interests

Professor Bai's research focuses on several frontiers of urban sustainability science and policy, including:

  • Understanding the structure, function and processes of urban social ecological system
  • Drivers and impacts of urbanization, including impact of landscape urbanization on food production
  • Urban environmental evolution
  • Urban metabolism- urban energy, water, food, and material flows and social economic determinants
  • Cities and climate change
  • Urban policy and governance
  • Urban resilience and cities as complex system
  • Low carbon, eco-city development
  • Sustainability experiments, system innovation, transition and transformation
  • Concept and method development for cross-case analysis
  • Regional development and environmental policy in China
  • Urban futures in the Anthropocene
  • Lin, T., Y Yu, X Bai, L Feng, J Wang. 2013. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounting of Urban Residential Consumption: A Household Survey Based Approach. PloS one 8 (2). (Open access article. Available at
  • Bai, X., S. Dhakal, J. Steinberger, H. Weisz. 2012. Drivers of Urban Energy Use and Main Policy Leverages. In: Energizing Sustainable Cities: Assessing Urban Energy (A. Grubler and D. Fisk eds). Earthscan.
  • Grubler, A., X. Bai, T. Buettner, S. Dhakal, D.J. Fisk, T. Ichinose, J. Keirstead, G. Sammer, D. Satterthwaite, N.B. Schulz, N. Shah, J. Steinberger and H. Weisz. 2012: Urban Energy Systems. In: The Global Energy Assessment. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria and Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
  • Hashimoto S., M. Fisher-Kowalski, S. Suh, XM. Bai, 2012. Greening Growing Giants: A Major Challenge of Our Planet. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 16(4): 459-466. DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00522.x.
  • Rogers, D., A. Duraiappah, D.C. Antons, P. Munoz, X.M. Bai, M. Fragkias, H. Gutscher. A vision for human wellbeing: Transition to social sustainability. 2012. Current Opinion on Environmental Sustainability 4:1-13. (First published online Feb 17, 2012. DOI Link:
  • Roberts, B., XM Bai. 2011. Environment and Climate Change. In: State of Asian Cities, 2010/2011. UN Habitat. (Republished by UNHabitat in 2011)
  • Bai, X.M., R. R. J. McAllister, M. Beaty, B. Taylor. 2010. Urban Policy and Governance in a Global Environment. Current Opinion on Environmental Sustainability. DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2010.05.008
  • Bai, XM, BH. Roberts, J. Chen. 2010. Urban Sustainability Experiment in Asia: Patterns and Pathways. Environmental Science and Policy 13: 312-325. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2010.03.011.
  • Berkhout, F. G. Verbong, A.J. Wieczorek, R. Raven, L. Level, X.M. Bai, 2010. Sustainability experiments in Asia: niches influencing alternative development pathways? Environmental Science and Policy. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2010.03.010.
  • Lin, JY, B. Cao, SH Cui, W. Wang, X.M. Bai. 2010. Evaluating the effectiveness of urban energy conservation and GHG mitigation measures: the case of Xiamen City, China. Energy Policy 38:5123-5132.
  • Bai X, Wieczorek A, Kaneko S, Lisson S, Contreras A 2009. Enabling sustainability transition in Asia: the importance of vertical and horizontal linkages. Technological Forecasting and Societal Change 76: 255-266.
  • Bai XM. 2008. Urban Transition in China: Trends, Consequences and Policy Implications. In: the New Global Frontier: Urbanization, Poverty and Environment in the 21st Century, G. Martin, G. McGranahan, M. Montgomery and R. Fernández-Castilla (eds). EarthScan, London. Pp:339-356.
  • Grimm NB, Faeth SH, Golubiewski NE, Redman CL, Wu JG, Bai XM & Briggs JM, 2008. Global change and the ecology of cities. Science 319: 756-760.
  • Newton, P. and Bai, XM, 2008. Transitioning to Sustainable Urban Development. In: Transitions: Pathways Towards Sustainable Urban Development in Australia. P. Newton Ed. CSIRO Publishing and Springer. PP: 3-19.
  • Bai, X. 2007 Industrial Ecology and Global Impacts of Cities. Journal of Industrial Ecology 11(2): 1-6.
  • Bai, X. 2007 Integrating Global Concerns into Urban Management: The Scale Argument and Readiness Arguments. Journal of Industrial Ecology 11(2): 15-29.
  • Xiao, Y., X. Bai, Zh. Ouyang, H. Zheng, 2007. The Composition, Trends, and Environmental Impacts of Municipal Solid Waste in Beijing. Special issue on Monitoring Quality and Characteristics of Municipal Solid Waste in Developing Countries, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 135:21-30.
  • Bai, X. and P. Shi, 2006. Pollution Control in China's Huai Basin: What Lessons for Sustainability? Environment 48(7):22-38.
  • McGranahan, G., P. Marcotullio, XM. Bai, D. Balk, T. Braga, I. Douglas, T. Elmqvist, W. Rees, D. Satterthwaite, J. Songsore, H. Zlotnick, J. Eades, E.l Ezcurra, A. Whyte. 2005. Urban systems. In: Hassan R, Scholes R, and Ash N (Eds). Ecosystems and human well-being: current state and trends (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Series). Washington, DC: Island Press.
  • Bai, X. 2003. The Process and Mechanism of Urban Environmental Change: An Evolutionary View. International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 19(5):528-541.
  • Bai, X. 2002. Industrial Relocation in Asia: A Sound Environmental Management Strategy? Environment 44(5): 8-21.
  • Bai, X., and H. Imura 2001. Towards sustainable urban water resource management: A case study in Tianjin, China. Sustainable Development, 9:24-35.
  • Bai, X., and H. Imura 2000. A comparative study of urban environment in East Asia: Stage model of urban environmental evolution. International Review for Global Environmental Strategies. 1(1): 135-158.