Distinguished Professor Xuemei Bai is a world-leading expert on sustainable urbanisation and urban system science at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.

Professor Bai joined the Fenner School of Environment and Society at ANU in 2011. Her research focuses on the science and policy of rapid urbanisation and urban system sustainability, including: understanding the structure, function and processes of urban social ecological systems, the drivers and impacts of urbanisation, evolution of urban systems, urban metabolism, cities and climate change, urban sustainability experiments, low carbon transition, and more recently on Anthropocene futures and Earth system sustainability. She has published extensively on these topics, with many appearing in top journals such as Nature and Science.

Professor Bai is a member of the Earth Commission, leading its Working Group 5 on methods of cross-scale translation from planetary limits to local actors. She is the Co-Chair of Future Earth Urban Knowledge-Action Network, which was launched at the 2016 UN Habitat III Conference in Quito. She has served as a Lead Author for four major global assessments, i.e. the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Global Energy Assessment, IPBES Global Assessment, and the IPCC AR6 WGIII.

Professor Bai is a Fellow of Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia since 2017, and was named as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Change Policy in 2019. She is the Laureate of the Volvo Environment Prize 2018, and the Global Economy Prize 2021.

Fields of expertise



New environmental boundaries set limit for ‘safe and just’ human future

Humans are taking colossal risks with the future of civilisation and everything that lives on Earth, a new…


How to stop cities and companies causing planetary harm

What businesses and cities must do to stay within ‘safe and just’ environmental limits for carbon, water, nutrients,…


Australia has a critical role in tackling climate change

The world has every chance to cut emissions deeply and Australia is critical to the global effort, say…


People power key to getting through COVID-19 pandemic

The strength of connections, be it human connections within cities, or collaborative networks between cities, has been a…

4 September 2020

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