Analyzing the Impacts of Urban Land Use Dynamics

Research Focus

Communities and Cities

Primary Subject Area

Urban environment and quality-of-life

This project focuses on analyzing the effectiveness of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) in estimating and predicting future tax revenues, socioeconomic change, transportation usage, and environmental impacts of new development and land use changes in New York City. Many large-scale development projects are required to prepare and submit an Environmental Impact Statement as part of the CEQR process and comprehensive land use review. This process is driven by subject matter experts using various metrics and rules-of-thumb to establish the projected impacts to traffic, school enrollment, natural resources, infrastructure, visual sightlines, etc., of proposed construction projects or zoning changes. These EIS documents are rarely, if ever, reviewed ex post to evaluate how well the projected impacts predicted actual effects. This research project examines a sample of EIS documents filed for projects and re-zonings in NYC and retrospectively analyzes the variance between predicted and actual impacts. Using data from a variety of sources, this research applies predictive modeling techniques to understand impacts to air quality, noise, and energy and water use and creates a geospatial interactive visualization of impacts across EIS study areas. The implications of this work are significant, as it is the first step in developing an environmental impact review process that is more transparent and effective in estimating and modeling the future impacts of urban development and land use changes.

Partners and Collaborators

NYC Department of Design and Construction, Town+Gown

Team Members

Boyeong Hong, Kristin Korsberg, Xinshi Zheng, Terri Matthews (DDC), Constantine Kontokosta

Funding

MacArthur Foundation

Research Team

Constantine E. Kontokosta, PhD, PE

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

Boyeong Hong

PhD Candidate

Yuan Lai

Ph.D. Candidate

yuan.lai@nyu.edu
646.997.0612

Constantine E. Kontokosta, PhD, PE

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, PhD, PE, 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 a NYU Award for Teaching Excellence. Constantine has published more than 70 peer-reviewed publications in leading academic journals – 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 on committees and advisory boards at the National Academies, DARPA, and the NSF Northeast Big Data Hub, and previously served on the boards of the UNEP Sustainable Buildings and Climate Council, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and as Vice Chair and Commissioner of the Suffolk County (NY) Planning Commission. In addition to his academic work, Constantine is an accomplished entrepreneur and, together with his brother, Michael Kontokosta, designed, built, and owns Kontokosta Winery, the Harborfront Inn, and Cove Place Inn, all on the North Fork of Long Island, as well as numerous properties in New York City and the East End.

Boyeong Hong

PhD Candidate

boyeong.hong@nyu.edu

My research interests focus on how to apply urban informatics to real world problems in urban planning and operations.

I hold a master degree in Applied Urban Science and Informatics from NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP). While at CUSP, I was a Graduated Research Assistant in Identifying E-Waste (Electronic waste) generation in New York City project in addition to working on data analytics for capital planning with NYC Department of City Planning as part of my capstone project. Most recently, I have been working at the Pratt Center for Community Development translating geospatial data into problem solving insight through GIS mapping and analysis. Prior to CUSP, I have participated in various research projects related to urban planning and data analytics in Seoul, South Korea. I have a Bachelor degree in Architecture from Yonsei University and a Master of City Planning degree from Seoul National University.

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.