We are at a singular moment in human history.

Steven E. Koonin, Director of NYU CUSP

For the first time, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities; by mid-century, that proportion is expected to rise to more than 70%.

New York City faces a related watershed moment. Under the leadership of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it has committed to understand and improve the efficiency and health of its infrastructure and services.

Thus, cities, where new companies will take flight and jobs will be created, where investors will want to put their money, and where people will want to live, must be efficient, resilient, sustainable, and provide a high quality of life.

The solution to these challenges is CUSP — the Center for Urban Science and Progress. The digital age has produced an incredible ability to collect, store, and analyze data. Bringing this “big data” to bear on societal problems — from clean air to transportation to healthcare — is at the heart of CUSP and a path to improvement of both existing and newly-built cities.

The world’s cities are competing for talent and capital like never before. As a native New Yorker, I am particularly heartened to know that CUSP’s researchers and students will be working side-by-side with city and state agencies, and industry and university partners to move this city forward and advance the field of urban informatics.

Our work will generate new understanding and technologies, and in turn new ventures and new jobs. More broadly, we will share the lessons we learn with the rest of the world to make cities around the planet better places to live and work.

— Dr. Steven E. Koonin, Founding Director of CUSP