• Congratulations to Assistant Professor Yury Dvorkin, who was awarded a new Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant for his research on “RETrofitting REsiliency AgainsT COVID-19! (RETREAT COVID-19!).” Professor Dvorkin intends to design a model that can represent infrastructure operations under various disease-outbreak scenarios and inform the development of efficient strategies to mitigate these vulnerabilities. The project will bridge the gap between computational epidemiology and infrastructure modeling, taking into account both infrastructure issues and disease spread.
  • Professor Debra Laefer served as an external examiner for a doctoral dissertation examination at the University of Minnesota.
  • The Behavioral Urban Informatics, Logistics, and Transport Laboratory (BUILT Lab), led by Assistant Professor Joseph Chow, recently completed a project for the Federal Transit Administration developing a compendium for them that covers operations planning for different types of public transit, including microtransit. The compendium (which also includes an open source simulation tool and test data set) can be found here.
  • On Tuesday, June 2, at 5pm EDT, Future of Democracy Working Group organized by the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU and The GovLab is hosting its next webinar on “Civic Power in a Pandemic.” You can learn more about the free event and register here.
  • Beginning during the early stages of the pandemic, The GovLab has been posting snapshots detailing how legislatures around the world are continuing to operate during the global crisis on its CrowdLaw blog. You can check out this collection of blog posts and videos featuring real members of global parliaments, several of which have been added over the past month, here.


  • What does New York City sound like during the coronavirus pandemic? “To me, it’s the sound of the city aching,” says Juan Pablo Bello, Director of CUSP and the Lead PI of the Sounds of New York City (SONYC) project. The New York Times spoke to Professor Bello and Research Assistant Professor Mark Cartwright about the use of the SONYC sensor network to measure the change in sound levels of New York City as we moved into quarantine.
  • Brace for Blackouts in the Summer of COVID-19: Assistant Professor Yury Dvorkin spoke to The Daily Beast about how Americans who are working from home or are unemployed and running air conditioning could tax our electrical grids.
  • Could EV charging stations pose a security risk to the grid? “We are at a point right now where if we don’t address the emerging vulnerabilities in this area some malicious actor could potentially exploit these areas for gain and slow down the power grid modernization effort that is being undertaken,” says Assistant Professor Yury Dvorkin, in a new article by Fierce Electronics.


  • Chaogui Kang, Li Shi, Fahui Wang, Yu Liu. “How urban places are visited by social groups? Evidence from matrix factorization on mobile phone data.” Accepted for publication in Transactions in GIS.
    • This research attempts to build a unified framework for distinguishing the spatiotemporal visit patterns of urban places by different social groups using mobile phone data in Harbin, China. Social groups are detected by their social ties in the ego-to-ego mobile phone call network and are embedded in physical space according to their home locations. Popular urban places are detected from user generated contents as the basic spatial analysis units. Coupling subscribers’ footprints and urban places in physical space, the spatiotemporal visit patterns of urban places by distinct social groups are uncovered and interpreted by non-negative matrix factorization. The proposed framework enables us to answer several critical questions from three perspectives: How to model popular urban places in terms of vague boundary, land use and semantic feature based on crowdsourcing data? How to evaluate interaction between individuals for inspecting the relationship between spatial proximity and social ties based on spatiotemporal co-occurrence? And how to distinguish urban place visit preferences for social groups associated with different socio-demographic characteristics? Our research could assist urban planners and municipal managers to identify critical urban places frequented by different population groups according to their roles and social-cultural characteristics for improvement in urban facility allocation.


  • Save the date for CUSP’s 2020 Capstone Program! On Thursday, July 23rd, 2020, join us online for the final capstone presentations of our talented graduate students. NYU CUSP’s Capstone Program brings together student research teams with government agencies, industry, or other research partners to address real-world urban challenges through data. The capstone presentations are the culmination of their six-month projects and mark the final presentation of the students’ work during their studies at CUSP. Learn more about the 2020 projects here.
  • We spoke to several of this year’s capstone teams to understand more about their research, and how their projects could help improve urban life, both in New York City and other cities around the world. Learn more:

June Events