Cities can be viewed as the loci of complex interactions of numerous sub-systems, each with its own rhythm, function, and logic. Understanding system behavior requires a combination of patient observation and learning, an appetite to question and challenge models, and an appreciation of ‘messiness’ (Meadows 2002). Cities are in many ways the messiest of complex systems, blending human, social, environmental, and physical systems within the constraints of regulatory, economic, and political realities. It is not sufficient to simply model the characteristics and behavior of the urban environment; scientists must collect and analyze large-scale, novel, and diverse data of appropriate spatial and temporal resolution to assist policymakers with evidenced-based strategies that will improve urban sustainability and quality-of-life in cities.
The Urban Intelligence Lab is focused on creating new data-driven methodologies to observe, model, and analyze the urban environment. Our work is grounded in solving real-world problems, and providing decision-makers with a comprehensive understanding of the inter-relationship between physical infrastructure systems, natural systems, and human systems to engage in long-term sustainability and resilience planning that is based on evidence and rigorous, objective research. Our inter-disciplinary team – combining methodological and domain expertise from engineering, data science, economics, and urban planning – is trained to harness, integrate, and interpret these urban data streams to address the societal challenge of improving quality-of-life in existing and future cities.
Constantine E. Kontokosta, PhD, PE
Director, Urban Intelligence Lab
Assistant Professor of Urban Informatics
Department of Civil and Urban Engineering
and Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP)
New York University