Professor Yunying Ren focuses her academic research on two aspects: the first concerns the history of the early modern city and city planning in China; the second concerns the theories and methods of city planning, especially the sustainable development of the historical city and its spatial transformation and adaptation. She is engaged in working out effective measures to resolve the conflict between historical and cultural protection and sustainable development, with particular reference to society, economy and environment in Northwest China. Professor Ren is currently responsible for two research projects sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China. In respect of planning practices, she has chaired and taken part in more then 40 planning and architectural design projects, especially focusing on county towns located on the loess plateau of Northwest China.
She was awarded third prize of the 2011 Annual National Outstanding Achievements of Urban and Rural Planning and Design. She was also awarded third prize of the Outstanding Achievement of Urban and Rural Planning and Design in Shaanxi Province in 2009. Meanwhile, she and her group had been awarded the 1st prize of Xi'an region within the Alluvial plain of Weihe River Vernacular Features of Rural Residential Building Design Competition, sponsored by Xi'an Urban and Rural Construction Committee.