Research Focus

Urban Informatics

Primary Subject Area

Urban Resilience

Resilience planning and emergency management requires policymakers and agency leaders to make difficult decisions regarding which at-risk populations should be given priority in the allocation of limited resources. Our work focuses on identifying, quantifying, and benchmarking these at-risk neighborhoods in New York City by forming a unified, multi-factor index of local and regional resilience capacity: the Resilience to Emergencies and Disasters Index (REDI). The strength of the proposed REDI methodology is the integration of measures of physical, natural, and social infrastructure systems – operationalized through the collection and analysis of spatial, infrastructural, socioeconomic, economic, and environmental datasets – to classify and rank the relative resilience capacity embedded in localized urban systems. The analysis for New York City communities reveals a gradual decrease in resilience capacity as the neighborhood’s distance from Lower Manhattan increases, with the lowest resilience capacity observed in the outer boroughs. Hurricane Sandy is used as a test case to validate the REDI scores by measuring the recovery periods for neighborhoods directly impacted by the storm. Using more than 12,000,000 complaints to the City’s 311 system, we develop a proxy for neighborhood activity, both pre- and post-event. Hurricane Sandy had a significant and immediate impact on neighborhoods classified as least resilient based on the calculated REDI scores, while the most resilient neighborhoods were shown to better withstand disruption to normal activity.

Agency Partners

NYS Office of Storm Recovery

Team Members

Awais Malik, Constantine E. Kontokosta

Funding

NYS RISE

Research Team

Awais Malik

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

awais.malik@nyu.edu
646.997.0544

Constantine E. Kontokosta, PhD, PE

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

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.

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.