Cherry blossoms nyc


  • The Urban Modeling Group, led by Professor Debra Laefer, is welcoming 4 Tandon undergraduate students for the 2021 NYU Summer Undergraduate Research Program! Michelle Ren will be undertaking new data integration schemes for subsurface documentation in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, Jiajun Luo will be investigating COVID-19 PAUSE order impacts on handicap accessibility to essential services and business survivability, and Winnie Zheng and Kevin Joseph (NYUAD) will be combining remote sensing and machine learning to develop new quality control mechanism for COVID-19 related cleaning.
  • Professor Debra Laefer is co-chairing the international conference 3D Geoinfo 2021, to be held virtually October 11-14. This conference offers a forum for leading international decision-makers and prominent voices in the field of 3D Geoinformation across the academic, commercial, and public sectors. The conference will take place online in conjunction with the FIG 3D Cadastres workshop and will be launched with an opening keynote address by Nobel Laureate and NYU professor Dr. Paul Romer. The conference will cover digital twins, 3DGIS, large-scale remote sensing including hyperpsectral imagery and bathymetry, indoor mapping, AI in remote sensing and much more.
  • Professor Debra Laefer and Wagner Prof. Emeritus Rae Zimmerman have joined forces with Alan Leidner and Wendy Dorf of GISMO, a GIS working group based in NYC, along with Josh Lieberman of the Open Geospatial Consortium, Terri Matthews of New York City’s Town and Gown program and Starling Childs of Gingko to tackle the long standing issue of having complete and interoperable documentation of underground utilities. To date, the team has interviewed dozens of stakeholders related to their two study sites. These sites are Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Midtown East, Manhattan. Each faces its own unique challenges related to sea-level rise, aging infrastructure, and real estate development. The project is designed to use the input of community groups, city officials, and state agencies to promote interoperable data sharing, which would facilitate more resilient infrastructure, reduced infrastructure costs, and faster response times to utility disruptions.
  • Professor Debra Laefer and Global Public Health Prof. Chris Dickey  have partnered with the American University of Beirut and the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro in an international data collection effort to study destination, transportation choice, mask-wearing, and touching behavior around health care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic outside of healthcare facilities. To date nearly 7,000 records have been collected by 16 NYU students and their foreign counterparts at a dozen and a half sites around the world This data set hopes to capture how different areas of the world are responding to the pandemic 1 year after the first wave. The data are being collected individually by students using Google’s MyMaps and later aggregated into a publicly-accessible, interactive GIS platform, which will be launched in late Spring.
  • Assistant Professor S. Farokh Atashzar is co-organizing the ICASSP 2021 PROGRESS Workshop(PROGRESS: PROmotinG DiveRsity in Signal ProcESSing). PROGRESS is designed to provide information and support for women and under-represented minorities in pursuing academic careers in Signal Processing.
  • Congratulations to Smart Cities Postdoctoral Associate John R. Pamplin II, whose project (where he is serving as a co-investigator) was just awarded a 1-yr pilot grant from the NYU Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy, Pilot Grant Program! “Pathways to racial disparities in the effects of Good Samaritan Laws: A mixed methods study” received a $7,000 award to interview people who use Illicit opioids (PWUIO) in NYC to explore potential racialized barriers to the effectiveness of overdose Good Samaritan laws.
  • Smart Cities Postdoctoral Associate John R. Pamplin II was a featured guest on the podcast, “Epidemiology Counts”, produced by the Society for Epidemiologic Research. The episode, “Episode 25 – Racialized Policing” discusses the historical and structural causes of racialized policing, its effect on health, and debunked some of the “myths” used to justify it.
  • Congratulations to Assistant Professor Anna Choromanska, who received a 2021 NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award, more widely known as a CAREER Award, which supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education. The award includes a five-year, $532,892 grant that will support a project that focuses on new, more efficient ways of training DL models, a process that typically consumes resources, time, and money, compromising the progress of public and private sectors that rely on DL, and limiting its deployment in new applications.
  • The GovLab has launched a national online citizen engagement as part of ReinventED: Your Education, Your Voice, a campaign to engage students, parents and caregivers and educators in identifying challenges with today’s education system. Results will be openly published and developed into recommendations targeted at policymakers and philanthropic leaders working in the education space.
  • Public voting for the “Disinformation” domain of the GovLab’s 100 Questions Initiative is currently underway. Visit to “vote” on the top questions we’ve identified surrounding disinformation that can and should be answered using data and data science. “Votes” simply signify perceived priority of the questions. The 100 Questions Initiative seeks to map the world’s 100 most pressing, high-impact questions that could be answered if relevant datasets were leveraged in a responsible manner.
  • On May 6 at 5pm, please join the GovLab and the NYU Institute for Public Knowledge for a Future of Democracy event on “What Americans Want from Reform,” featuring Dr. Paul C. Light of NYU Wagner.



  • Smart Cities Postdoctoral Associate John R. Pamplin II recently published a study interrogating the Environmental Affordances model: a frequently cited mechanism to explain the paradoxical lack of increased prevalence of Major Depression among Black people (relative to white people) despite Black people’s increased average exposure to socioeconomic deprivation and other manifestations of racism. Despite the model’s popularity in the literature, the study failed to find empirical support for the model at multiple levels, and suggests the need to develop new hypotheses to explain the paradoxical racial pattern of depression.
  • Smart Cities Postdoctoral Associate John R. Pamplin II recently co-authored a commentary discussing a study that reported racial disparities in influenza vaccinations that remain even after accounting for common explanations such as vaccine hesitancy and distrust in medical institutions. We discuss how these findings point towards the importance of studying structural factors such as biased prescribing practices and inadequate pharmacy capacity in the production of inequitable vaccination rates.


  • NYU CUSP students are working with the Reimagine New York Commission and Schmidt Futures to help get affordable broadband for all, as part of the Action Plan for a Reimagined New York. To better understand geographic distribution of barriers to access, the Commission sponsored a capstone project at CUSP.
  • Earn your Master’s in Applied Urban Science and Informatics! It’s not too late to apply for Fall 2021 – learn more about our programs in Urban Informatics on our website or start your application here.