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Can Big Data and Sensors Make Cities Smarter and Safer?

“Smart Cities” are designed to scale up “The Internet of Things” to better manage local transportation, energy, healthcare, water delivery and waste disposal. Can Big Data really improve the quality of life for residents and their neighbors?

Keeping Up: When Technological Change Begets More, Faster Change

If you want an early glimpse of how the future may look, one place to get it is the Tower at PNC Plaza. Pittsburgh’s newest skyscraper, which has a gleaming curvilinear top that looms 33 stories over downtown, is a $400 million effort to create the world’s greenest office building.

Gensler, which designed the building, has equipped it with an array of state-of-the-art gadgetry to reduce energy consumption. A solar chimney, consisting of two vertical shafts at the building’s core, allows air to rise and exit through the roof. There also is a double-skin facade, in which twin panes of glass are separated by an air cavity that provides insulation, and a system of automated blinds between the glass panes that is controlled by sensors regulating the amount of sunlight entering the building.

The result: a building that is expected to consume 50 percent less energy than past generations of office towers.

Many of the Tower at PNC Plaza’s technologies are not new, as Douglas C. Gensler, one of the architecture firm’s principals, explains. “The advance really was thinking of how you combine all these things,” he says. Up to this point, “they tended to be either stand-alone ideas or they were not wrapped into the architecture of the building.”

Mayor de Blasio Announces Major Progress in Greening City Buildings

City leading by example, retrofitting all public buildings by 2025; projects already in place or underway at buildings representing half of all City government building emissions

Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and NYU launch tool to track energy and water use at large buildings – key resource as NYC reduces all emissions 80 percent by 2050

 

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the City has made significant progress in greening its own building stock as it works to retrofit all public buildings by 2025 and move toward an 80 percent reduction in all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – a key OneNYC target. As the City leads by example in retrofitting its own buildings, it also continues to make it easier for private building owners to do the same, launching a new tool today to track energy and water usage at large buildings.

Of the nearly 3,000 public buildings with any significant energy use, almost one-third already have retrofits in place or underway. Those buildings represent 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from City buildings.

“This weekend, world leaders took a historic step in the fight against climate change. New York City has long set the pace when it comes to innovative climate action – and we’ll continue to lead the way,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We’re greening every public building, with retrofits now in buildings representing half of all public building emissions. Our progress is clear, but we won’t stop leading by example – and providing the tools for the private sector to do the same – because our very future is at stake.”

From Data to Design: The Science of Cities

New York City amasses data on habits, health and security of its citizens to cope with spiraling growth

 

New York – Gregory Dobler is an astrophysicist who honed his craft by recording spectral images of quasars and black holes. Now, from a high-rise rooftop in Brooklyn, he is training his lens on the expanding universe of New York City.

Every 10 seconds for two years, Dr. Dobler and his colleagues at New York University’s urban observatory have taken a panorama of Manhattan. Across hundreds of wavelengths of light, they are recording the rhythmic pulse of a living city, just as astronomers capture the activity of a variable star.

“Instead of taking pictures of the sky to see what is going on in the heavens, we are taking pictures of the city from a distance to see if we can figure out how the city is functioning,” says Dr. Dobler, a scientist at NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY PARTNERS WITH KING’S COLLEGE AND THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK TO ESTABLISH THE CENTER FOR URBAN SCIENCE AND PROGRESS IN LONDON

New York University (NYU), King’s College London, and the University of Warwick have signed an agreement to establish a London Center for Urban Science and Progress at Bush House, part of King’s Strand campus, in 2017.

London will be the first city to build upon the success of CUSP in New York City, which was launched in April 2012 by Mayor Bloomberg and of which Warwick is an academic partner. In developing CUSP London, the partners will benefit from the experience in New York City, where CUSP is now established as a leader in the new field of urban science and informatics.

CUSP London will bring together researchers, businesses, local authorities and government agencies to apply urban science to improving public health and wellbeing. It will draw on the real experience and ‘big data’ available in cities, thereby using the cities themselves as living laboratories to tackle their most significant issues. CUSP London will complement the MedCity initiative which the GLA recently launched with King’s and other academic partners, and the Mayor of London’s Smart London plan.

Experts at CUSP London will use data to develop deeper understanding and practical solutions to a wide range of challenges affecting people’s everyday lives. The international partnership will also train a new generation of postgraduate and PhD level urban scientists with the skills and knowledge to benefit London and other major UK and global cities.

The partners will shortly be advertising the post of Director of CUSP London.

Professor Edward Byrne AC, President and Principal of King’s, commented: “We are delighted to have signed an agreement with NYU and Warwick to take forward this exciting initiative and to host the second Center for Urban Science and Progress at our campus in central London. All three university partners share a desire to tackle the increasingly complex challenges facing more major global cities and CUSP London will help us to achieve this.”

Professor Nigel Thrift, Vice-Chancellor of Warwick added: “I welcome the launch of CUSP London, both as a researcher of the dynamics of cities, and as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick which is a partner both in the CUSP London initiative and the original CUSP in New York. CUSP London will be a significant engine of applied urban science research, innovation and education that will work with London as a living laboratory applying research to the needs of our capital and to other great cities.”

Steve Koonin, Director of New York University’s Center for Urban Science & Progress, said: “We are delighted to welcome London to the CUSP family. We are honored by their strong support of our work and the steps taken to build on our successes in New York City. Our New York team stands ready to work with Kings College and the University of Warwick as the CUSP model is expanded abroad.”

About New York University’s Center for Urban Science & Progress
CUSP is an applied science research institute created by New York University with a consortium of world-class universities and the foremost international technology companies to address the needs of cities. At the heart of its academic program, CUSP will investigate and develop solutions to the challenges that face cities around the world. This research will make CUSP the world’s leading authority in the emerging field of “urban informatics”. For more news and information on CUSP, please visit http://cusp.nyu.edu/.

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Kim Alfred, CUSP
917.392.0859
kim.alfred@nyu.edu

 

Elizabeth Latino, The Marino Organization
212.889.0808
elizabeth@themarino.org

SONYC Is A NYC BigApps 2015 Finalist!

finalist-img-1024x422On November 11, BigApps NYC 2015 announced that CUSP’s researchers, Charlie Mydlarz and Justin Salamon have made it through to the competition’s finals. Their submission, the SONYC project has been selected as one of the finalists in the Connected Cities category.

The finals will take place on Wednesday, December 2nd at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). The SONYC project team will have the opportunity to pitch their project to a panel of judges, as well as have time for Q&As and demos. Be sure to come by to support the team!

For more information about the SONYC project, please visit their website.

SONYC Through to Semifinals of BigApps NYC 2015!

NYU CUSP’s own Charlie Mydlarz and Justin Salamon have made it to the semifinals of the NYC BigApps 2015 competition, with their project – Sounds Of New York City (SONYC).

Their project will be on public display on Demo Day on Sunday, November 1, between 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM at Made in NY Media Center, 30 John St., Brooklyn NY 11201 .

The objectives of SONYC are to create technological solutions for: (1) the systematic, constant monitoring of noise pollution at city scale; (2) the accurate description of acoustic environments in terms of its composing sources; (3) broadening citizen participation in noise reporting and mitigation; and (4) enabling city agencies to take effective, information-driven action for noise mitigation.

Visit SONYC’s NYC BigApps 2015 competition page here.

Constantine Kontokosta and Christopher Tull Win Best Paper Award At D4GX 2015

D4GX Mini

On September 28, the NYC Media Lab – Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange (D4GX) awarded First Prize Paper to both Constantine Kontokosta, CUSP’s Deputy Director of Academics & Assistant Professor, and Christopher Tull, a student and Research Assistant at CUSP. D4GX’s evaluation team was impressed by their developed use of NYC open data and online mapping tools that culminated in their paper, “Web-Based Visualization and Prediction of Urban Energy Use from Building Benchmarking Data”.

The researchers were also granted an opportunity to speak on Wednesday September 30, at the Stata+Hadoop World conference Solution Showcase, one of the largest data science conferences to convene this year.

The Data for Good Exchange is part of Bloomberg’s advocacy initiatives, which uses data science and human capital to examine and find solutions for society’s core issues.

Download Paper

NYU CUSP PARTICIPATES IN THE WHITE HOUSE SMART CITIES FORUM

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy brought government and research professionals together to discuss technical solutions for cities across the country

New York, NY – On Monday, August, 14th, New York University’s Center for Urban Science & Progress (CUSP) participated in the Smart Cities Forum hosted by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Joining representatives from city government, the research community, and universities across the country, NYU CUSP took part a discussion to address problems and create solutions for operations, planning, and development.

The Smart Cities Forum, held at the White House South Court Auditorium, comes on the heels of the creation of the “Metro Lab Network,” a collection of universities and city government partnerships working toward technical solutions to challenges such as infrastructure, transportation, and distribution of services. Members of the Network will work together to develop shared, scalable solutions that can be deployed in cities across the country.

The forum was attended by representatives from more than 22 cities and universities across the U.S. including Dr. Steven E. Koonin, the founding director of NYU CUSP. “Now, more than ever, cities are supporting rapidly increasing populations,” says Koonin. “The Metro Lab Network presents an opportunity for us to learn from our shared experiences, city to city.”

NYU CUSP’s core mission and relationship with New York City made it a natural candidate for the Metro Lab Network. Using New York City as its laboratory and classroom, CUSP has set out to respond to the City’s challenge by setting the research agenda for ‘the science of cities,’ and educating the next generation of urban scientists in how to apply this research to real-world problems, bring innovative ideas to cities across the world, and create a new, fast-growing and indispensable industry. NYU CUSP is also working with the New York City Mayor’s Office to create a series of neighborhood innovation labs across the five boroughs, building on the work of the CUSP Quantified Community research facility led by Prof. Constantine Kontokosta. The Metro Lab Network will connect NYU CUSP and New York City to other city/university partnerships, ultimately providing a place for city governments and researchers to share ideas and challenges, collaborate on solutions, and learn best practices from one another.

 

In the coming months, the White House OSTP will announce forthcoming programs that result from the Metro Lab Network.

 

About New York University’s Center for Urban Science & Progress

CUSP is an applied science research institute created by New York University with a consortium of world-class universities and the foremost international technology companies to address the needs of cities. At the heart of its academic program, CUSP will investigate and develop solutions to the challenges that face cities around the world.  This research will make CUSP the world’s leading authority in the emerging field of “urban informatics”.  For more news and information on CUSP, please visit http://cusp.nyu.edu/.

 

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Kim Alfred, CUSP

917.392.0859

kim.alfred@nyu.edu

 

Elizabeth Latino, The Marino Organization

212.889.0808

elizabeth@themarino.org

NYU CUSP AND NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES PARTNER ON DATA ANALYTICS AND CITY SERVICES SUMMIT

New York, NY – New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) teamed up with the National League of Cities to host the Data Analytics and City Services Summit. Held August 6-7 in New York City, this first-of-its-kind event brought together thought leaders with chief data officers and performance management staff from 12 cities across the nation to accelerate city data analytics efforts and develop methods to improve decision-making and operational efficiency.

“Twelve cities came together to share ideas, best practices and lessons learnt on using data and analytics to improve cities,” said Tom Schenk, chief data officer for the City of Chicago. “When we share these ideas, we can be sure to implement the best ideas at the lowest cost. It is important that the nascent chief data officers, directors of analytics, performance managers and others who are leading the charge for data-driven decisions come together as a community.”

Through a hands-on data analytics workshop and a series of roundtable discussions, participants identified common data-related functions, goals and challenges. Participants then showcased various data approaches and strategies to improve city services and civic engagement.

“Our belief is that a well articulated data strategy that can be applied in multiple cities will accelerate the adoption of effective applications of data analytics,” said Steven Koonin, the founding director of NYU CUSP. “We know that urban science is still very much a nascent field, and we are engaging cities most committed to harnessing data and learning together.”

The attendees also worked with urban informatics students from NYU CUSP to apply new analytical techniques to existing datasets to understand challenges and develop new solutions to deliver city services. Participating cities provided raw data sets prior to the summit, along with information on how the data was collected.

“Local governments are embracing data and technology to solve their most difficult problems and ensure competitive and equitable cities,” said National League of Cities CEO Clarence E. Anthony. “We are proud to support the critical work in cities to apply the innovative solutions that are solving ongoing challenges in local government.”

The summit was lead by renowned experts in the field of urban science, including Steven Goldsmith, Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Sir Peter Elias, Deputy Chair of the Administrative Data Research Board of the UK Statistics Authority, and Stacey Warady Gillett, leader of the What Works Cities initiative at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Participating cities included Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Kansas City, Mo., Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

NYU CUSP and NLC also conducted a survey of participating cities on their data practices and barriers. The survey found that outdated systems and infrastructure, as well as a lack of resources, were most commonly cited as barriers to leveraging data to improve services and efficiency.

The two-day summit was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the nation’s largest independent foundations, committed to fostering the development of knowledge, strengthening institutions and improving public policy.

 

About New York University’s Center for Urban Science & Progress

CUSP is an applied science research institute created by New York University with a consortium of world-class universities and the foremost international technology companies to address the needs of cities. At the heart of its academic program, CUSP will investigate and develop solutions to the challenges that face cities around the world.  This research will make CUSP the world’s leading authority in the emerging field of “urban informatics”.  For more news and information on CUSP, please visit http://cusp.nyu.edu/.

 

About the National League of Cities

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org.

 

 

Contact:

Kim Alfred, CUSP

917.392.0859

kim.alfred@nyu.edu

 

Tom Martin, National League of Cities

202.626.3186

martin@nlc.org

 

Elizabeth Latino, The Marino Organization

212.889.0808

elizabeth@themarino.org