CIVIC ANALYTICS

Civic Analytics: data-driven city operations, policy, and planning.

Research to support quality-of-life in cities through data-driven insight for decision-makers.

The vast amount of data generated from diverse data sources provides both an opportunity and a challenge to urban policymakers and decision-makers. The application of data-driven analytics offers the opportunity to identify new areas for operational efficiencies, enhanced service delivery, and better informed policy design and implementation. When combined with other, correlative data sources – pulled from social media feeds, transit cameras, and sensors – the potential increases significantly to understand and improve the equity, fairness, and efficacy of city government. At the same time, these data create substantial - and very real - threats to privacy and individual autonomy. Our goals are to bring evidence to policy-making, to democratize knowledge through information transparency, and to analyze and address the root causes and disparate impact of discrimination and bias in urban data science.

The Urban Intelligence Lab, through the Civic Analytics Program at the NYU Marron Institute, works directly with city agencies and non-profit organizations to acquire, analyze, and derive insight from data in order to address tangible and significant urban problems. The Lab has worked with over two dozen agencies and NGOs across multiple cities, delivering problem-oriented research that serves the dual purpose of advancing our scientific understanding of cities and having a direct impact on decision-making. Current and recent project descriptions are available below.

Selected city government collaborators:

  • New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
  • New York City Mayor’s Office of Tech & Innovation
  • New York City Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics
  • New York City Economic Development Corporation
  • New York City Department of Sanitation
  • New York City Department of Design and Construction
  • New York City Department of City Planning
  • New York City 311
  • DataKC, City of Kansas City, MO
  • Washington, DC Department of Energy and Environment
  • Singapore Land Authority
  • Greater London Authority
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • City of New Orleans

 

Civic Analytics Fellowship Program

Through the Urban Intelligence Lab and the Civic Analytics Program at the Marron Institute, this fellowship program brings together students and post-graduates with a diverse range of technical backgrounds to work with city agencies to data analytics projects that address critical operational and policy challenges and create positive social impact. The fellowship is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Meet the Fellows

Urban Informatics Training for Graduate Students and City Leaders

Through the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and the Tandon School of Engineering, students can learn how to connect data science skills with urban operations, policy, and planning. The CUSP MS in Applied Urban Science and Informatics provides in-depth training in urban informatics and its application to city challenges. The Urban Informatics concentration in the MS in Urban Infrastructure Systems at the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering exposes students to the use of data science in infrastructure management and planning. The pending PhD in Urban Systems at Tandon is for students seeking opportunities to develop their research skills at the intersection of civil engineering, data science, and urban planning.

Details

Civic Analytics and Urban Intelligence book

Professor Constantine E. Kontokosta’s forthcoming edited volume, "Civic Analytics and Urban Intelligence: How Data and Information Can Shape Urban Planning, Design, and City Operations", with co-editor Dr. Colin Harrison, will be published by Routledge.

Research Team

Constantine E. Kontokosta

DIRECTOR, URBAN INTELLIGENCE LAB; Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning; Director, Civic Analytics Program

Bartosz Bonczak

Associate Research Scientist

Sokratis Papadopoulos

PhD Candidate

Yuan Lai

Ph.D. Candidate

yuan.lai@nyu.edu
646.997.0612

Awais Malik

Ph.D Candidate, Civil & Urban Engineering (NYU Tandon) and NYU CUSP

awais.malik@nyu.edu
646.997.0544

Xinshi Zheng

Civic Analytics Graduate Student Fellow

Ian Stuart

Graduate Research Assistant, Building Informatics

Ian Wright

Graduate Research Assistant

Raka Dey

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Constantine E. Kontokosta

DIRECTOR, URBAN INTELLIGENCE LAB; Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning; Director, Civic Analytics Program

ckontokosta@nyu.edu

Prof. Kontokosta brings training urban planning, data science, economics, and systems engineering to the data-driven study of cities.

Constantine E. Kontokosta is an Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning and Director of the Civic Analytics program at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management. He also directs the Urban Intelligence Lab and holds cross-appointments at the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering (CUE). He is affiliated faculty at the Wagner School of Public Service, Visiting Professor of Computer Science at the University of Warwick (UK), and a Senior Scholar at the New York Academy of Medicine. Previously, he served as the inaugural Deputy Director of CUSP and Assistant Professor of Urban Informatics at CUSP and CUE, where he was part of the Center’s founding leadership team and designed and launched the first graduate program in urban informatics. He is the founding Principal Investigator of the Quantified Community research initiative that integrates hyperlocal urban sensors with city-scale data analytics to understand neighborhood dynamics and well-being, and is one of the largest community-driven IoT projects in New York City. He is a 2017 recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his research in urban informatics for sustainable cities.

Trained in urban planning and computational methods (Columbia), finance and economics (NYU), and systems science and engineering (UPenn), Constantine brings an inter-disciplinary perspective to urban science that integrates fundamental research with impact-driven, use-inspired needs. His work leverages large-scale data with computational methods to understand and drive change in energy efficiency and climate policy, neighborhood change and the impacts of urban development, and community-driven air quality monitoring and environmental justice. Recent projects include research with NYC311 and Kansas City to measure bias in citizen complaint reporting for predictive analytics; with a homeless shelter provider to apply machine learning algorithms to identify at-risk homeless families; and with the City of New York, Washington, DC, and the UN to leverage large-scale data analytics for building energy and climate policy. Constantine’s research groups – the Civic Analytics Program and the Urban Intelligence Lab – are motivated by a desire to bring evidence to policy-making, to democratize knowledge through information transparency, and to uncover discrimination and bias in data-driven decision-making.

Constantine’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), MacArthur Foundation, Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, among others, and he has received several honors for his work, including the IBM Faculty Award, the Google IoT Research Award, the UN Data for Climate Action Challenge Award,  the Goddard Junior Faculty Fellowship, the Charles Abrams Award for Social Justice Research, and NYU awards for Teaching Excellence and Outstanding Service. Constantine has published more than 70 peer-reviewed publications in leading academic journals and conferences – in fields ranging from urban planning to signal processing – and has two forthcoming books on urban analytics and data-driven climate action. His research has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, FastCompany, CityLab, Wired, CNN, NPR, and other media outlets. He holds a PhD, M.Phil, and M.S. from Columbia University, a M.S. from New York University, and a B.S.E. from the University of Pennsylvania.

He serves or has served on committees and advisory boards at the National Academies, DARPA, the NSF Northeast Big Data Hub, the UNEP Sustainable Buildings and Climate Council, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and was the Vice Chair and a Commissioner of the Suffolk County (NY) Planning Commission. In addition to his academic work, Constantine is an accomplished entrepreneur.

Recent Projects

The Impact of Mandatory Energy Audits on Energy Use in Buildings

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Energy Cost Burdens and Housing Affordability for Low-Income Households

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Estimating Bias in 311 Service Request Data

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Analyzing the Impacts of Urban Land Use Dynamics

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Benchmarking, Feedback, and Behavior Change for Commercial Office Building Tenants

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Data Quality and Reliability Metrics for Building Energy Disclosure Data

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CommunitySense

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Using Machine Learning and Small Area Estimation to Predicting Building-level Waste Generation and Recycling

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Machine Learning Approaches to Predict and Target Building Energy Retrofits

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Using LiDAR to Analyze the Impact of Urban Morphology on Energy Use

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The Resilience to Emergencies and Disasters Index (REDI)

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The QC Urban Sensing Array

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Bartosz Bonczak

Associate Research Scientist

bartosz.bonczak@nyu.edu
646.997.0530

Bartosz Bonczak is an Associate Research Scientist at CUSP working with Quantified Community and Building Informatics teams.

In his research, he applies data-driven approaches to improve building energy efficiency and the analysis of urban topography.

Bartosz received M.S. in Urban Informatics from CUSP (2015) and completed a B.S. (2009) and a M.S. (2011) in Geography with the focus on tourism at University of Lodz in his home country of Poland. Prior to joining CUSP he was Assistant Research Scientist at the Department of Geographical Sciences at University of Lodz.

Recent Projects

Energy Cost Burdens and Housing Affordability for Low-Income Households

View Project

Benchmarking, Feedback, and Behavior Change for Commercial Office Building Tenants

View Project

Data Quality and Reliability Metrics for Building Energy Disclosure Data

View Project

CommunitySense

View Project

Machine Learning Approaches to Predict and Target Building Energy Retrofits

View Project

Using LiDAR to Analyze the Impact of Urban Morphology on Energy Use

View Project

The QC Urban Sensing Array

View Project

Sokratis Papadopoulos

PhD Candidate

sokratis.papadopoulos@nyu.edu
646.705.3295

Sokratis is a PhD candidate in Civil and Urban Engineering at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and NYU CUSP.

He holds an MSc in Engineering Systems and Management from Masdar Institute, UAE (2015). His research interests lie between applied data science and optimization of building energy performance, with an emphasis on human actions.

Recent Projects

The Impact of Mandatory Energy Audits on Energy Use in Buildings

View Project

Energy Cost Burdens and Housing Affordability for Low-Income Households

View Project

Benchmarking, Feedback, and Behavior Change for Commercial Office Building Tenants

View Project

Machine Learning Approaches to Predict and Target Building Energy Retrofits

View Project

Yuan Lai

Ph.D. Candidate

yuan.lai@nyu.edu
646.997.0612

Yuan Lai is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Systems in the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and CUSP.

Yuan Lai is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Systems at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. His research focuses on urban informatics and data-driven city development. He holds a M.S. in Urban Informatics from NYU CUSP and a M.S. in Urban Planning, specializing in urban design and GIS, from State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to joining CUSP, he practiced as an architect with Moshe Safdie on large-scale building design and master planning projects. He is an Accredited Professional of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design specialized in neighborhood development.

 

Recent Projects

Analyzing the Impacts of Urban Land Use Dynamics

View Project

The QC Urban Sensing Array

View Project

Awais Malik

Ph.D Candidate, Civil & Urban Engineering (NYU Tandon) and NYU CUSP

awais.malik@nyu.edu
646.997.0544

Awais Malik is a Ph.D. Candidate in Civil and Urban Engineering at NYU Tandon and a Research Assistant at NYU CUSP.

He graduated from Dartmouth College in 2013 with an A.B. in Engineering Sciences with Honors and a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering. He was a member of Dartmouth’s $300 House Initiative, and received the Dean of Faculty grant to design and test affordable housing solutions for Haiti. Awais joined CUSP’s inaugural class of graduate students in 2013, and was one of the first research assistants at the Kontokosta Research Group. Awais received a Master of Science in Applied Urban Science and Informatics from CUSP in 2014. For the past two years, he has worked on forming a unified, multi-factor index of resilience capacity for New York City neighborhoods: the Resilience to Emergencies and Disasters Index (REDI). Awais’ current research focuses on understanding urban resilience by measuring near real-time neighborhood activity.

Recent Projects

CommunitySense

View Project

Machine Learning Approaches to Predict and Target Building Energy Retrofits

View Project

The Resilience to Emergencies and Disasters Index (REDI)

View Project

The QC Urban Sensing Array

View Project

Xinshi Zheng

Civic Analytics Graduate Student Fellow

xz1845@nyu.edu

Xinshi is a Master student and a Civic Analytics Graduate Student Fellow in the Urban Intelligence Lab.

He holds a M.S. in Civil Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2015), and a B.Eng in Architectural Environment Engineering from University of Nottingham, UK (2013). His research interests include developing data science applications for urban infrastructure planning and optimization, as well as geospatial analysis.

Recent Projects

Benchmarking, Feedback, and Behavior Change for Commercial Office Building Tenants

View Project

Using Machine Learning and Small Area Estimation to Predicting Building-level Waste Generation and Recycling

View Project

Machine Learning Approaches to Predict and Target Building Energy Retrofits

View Project

Ian Stuart

Graduate Research Assistant, Building Informatics

is1480@nyu.edu

Ian is currently pursuing a MS in Applied Urban Science and Informatics from NYU CUSP.

His primary research interests involve the application of data analysis to urban sustainability challenges and resource efficiency. He is also studying the potential for emerging, data-intensive technologies to bring about drastic change in urban systems like transportation, housing, and energy.

Ian’s experience includes work in urban design, environmental consulting, and civic technology. HIs study of cities began with a BA in Urban Studies from Stanford University. He also holds a Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke.

Ian Wright

Graduate Research Assistant

iw453@nyu.edu

Ian's research and career interests are in next-gen power grids, microgrids, energy storage technologies, and renewables in the urban environment.

Ian received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (2011) from the University of Alberta, Canada, and is currently working towards an M.S. at NYU’s CUSP. Previously, he worked as a design engineer at an architectural firm, Dialog, designing building systems and modelling energy usage in buildings. Most recently he transitioned to the technology sector as a data analyst and strategist at a Vancouver company called Hootsuite.

Recent Projects

Benchmarking, Feedback, and Behavior Change for Commercial Office Building Tenants

View Project

Machine Learning Approaches to Predict and Target Building Energy Retrofits

View Project

Raka Dey

Undergraduate Research Assistant

raka.dey@nyu.edu

Raka Dey is a rising senior at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering currently pursuing her BS in Sustainable Urban Environments. She is at CUSP for the summer doing research on the Qualified at Hudson Yards project. Aside from engineering, she has focused her studies on architecture, public policy, and urban planning. Through her research here, she hopes not only to gain skills in data science, but also combine her various academic interests. Raka will continue her research on this project during the school year through her Smart Cities class.

Recent Projects

CommunitySense

View Project

The QC Urban Sensing Array

View Project

Recent Projects

Recent Publications