By 2030 over 60% of the world population is expected to live in urban areas. This rapid rate of urbanization is putting additional strain on our urban systems, and posing new challenges across a multitude of sectors. To address such challenges New York University Abu Dhabi activated in September 2019 the NYUAD Center for InteractIng urban networks (CITIES - مدن). CITIES promotes fundamental and applied research focused on the interactions between physical, digital, and social networks. Our ultimate goal is to develop new ideas for increasing the Livability and Sustainability of our cities, with a special emphasis in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. The First CITIES Symposium will provide a forum to learn and discuss some of these new ideas, and how they can contribute in propelling our cities into a richer and more sustainable future.
Jeffrey Bohn, SwissRe Research Institute Keynote Presentation
10:30 to 11:00am
Institute Conference Center, Meeting Room Foyer
First Session | The Physical Network
11:00 to 11:10am
Saif Eddin Jabari, NYUAD Engineering Intro to Physical Network
11:10 to 11:45am
Nikolas Geroliminis, EPFL Traffic Management in the New Era of Mobility Services
11:45am to 12:20pm
Paul Waddell, UC Berkeley Information Infrastructure and Models for Metropolitan Land use and Transportation Modeling
12:20 to 1:50pm
Institute Conference Center, Meeting Room Foyer
Second Session | The Digital Network
1:50 to 2:00pm
Azza Abouzied, NYUAD Science Intro to Digital Network
2:00 to 2:35pm
Chandrasekaran Mohan, IBM Almaden Research Center Blockchain: A Fabric for Enabling Orderly and Secure Social, Digital and Physical Interactions in a City
2:35 to 3:10pm
Alfredo Morales, MIT Social Fragmentation in Urban Areas
3:10 to 3:40pm
Institute Conference Center, Meeting Room Foyer
Third Session | The Social Network
3:40 to 3:50pm
Kinga Reka Makovi, NYUAD Social Science Intro to Social Network
3:50 to 4:25pm
Maya Abou Zeid, AUB Modeling Social Norms and Travel Behavior with Application to Car Ownership Intentions
4:25 to 5:00pm
Marcia Castro, Harvard Urban Growth and Public Health: Challenges and Opportunities
Bios and Abstracts
Bio: Alfredo Morales works in understanding the complex behavior of social systems by analyzing big data with artificial intelligence algorithms, networks and complexity science. He explains large scale, societal behaviors, such as social segregation and polarization, by retrieving unstructured patterns of information from large datasets resulting from human activity on Internet, mobile phones and shopping data. He works closely with world-class researchers from academia and industry, including institutions like MIT, Harvard and the UN. In 2018 he was included in the list of 35 Innovators Under 35 by MIT Technology Review and in 2017 he was included in the list of Latinos of the Future by the journal El Planeta in Boston.
Title: Social Fragmentation in Urban Areas Abstract: The fragmentation of social systems is one of the greatest challenges of the current world. Understanding the effects of social segregation on complex processes such as cultural differentiation, political polarization, economic growth and social stability is crucial for the design of public policies. The availability of big data enables the direct observation of social behaviors beyond traditional surveys and census. We analyze Twitter and shopping data in cities around the world and study behavioral differences among socioeconomic groups. We show that urban segregation fractures the social space influencing the structure information flows and mutual exposure among social groups, which promotes inequality and polarization, rather than cohesion and consensus. Given the increasing challenges associated with the irruption of new technologies and automation, it is extremely important to incorporate new methods to analyze the complexity of social systems, such that public policies become effective and unintended consequences can be prevented.
Bio: Dr. C. Mohan is currently an IBM Fellow at the IBM Almaden Research Center in Silicon Valley and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in China. He has been an IBM researcher for 38 years in the database and related areas, impacting numerous IBM and non-IBM products, the research and academic communities, and standards, especially with his invention of the well-known ARIES family of database locking and recovery algorithms, and the Presumed Abort distributed commit protocol. This IBM (1997), ACM (2002) and IEEE (2002) Fellow has also served as the IBM India Chief Scientist (2006-2009). In addition to receiving the ACM SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award (1996), the VLDB 10 Year Best Paper Award (1999) and numerous IBM awards, Mohan was elected to the US and Indian National Academies of Engineering (2009) and named an IBM Master Inventor (1997). This Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras (1977) received his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin (1981). He is an inventor of 50 patents. He is currently focused on Blockchain, Big Data and HTAP technologies (http://bit.ly/CMbcDB, http://bit.ly/CMgMDS). For over 2 years, he has been an evangelist for permissioned blockchains and the myth buster of permissionless blockchains. Since 2016, Mohan has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor of China’s prestigious Tsinghua University. He has served on the advisory board of IEEE Spectrum, and on numerous conference and journal boards. Mohan is a frequent speaker in North America, Europe and Asia, and has given talks in 40 countries. He is very active on social media and has a huge network of followers. More information can be found in the Wikipedia page at http://bit.ly/CMwIkP
Title: Blockchain: A Fabric for Enabling Orderly and Secure Social, Digital and Physical Interactions in a City Abstract: It has been a decade since the concept of blockchain was invented as the underlying core data structure of the permissionless or public Bitcoin cryptocurrency network. Since then, several cryptocurrencies, and associated concepts like tokens and ICOs have emerged. After much speculation and hype, significant number of them have become problematic or worthless! The adoption and further adaptation of blockchains and smart contracts for use in the permissioned or private environments is what I consider to be useful and of practical consequence. After introducing the audience to some of the useful aspects of blockchains and related systems in production deployment, I will discuss why I feel blockchain can serve as a fabric that enables in an orderly and secure way social, digital and physical interactions in a city. It can be synergized with IoT, AI and cyber-physical systems also.
Bio: Dr. Bohn is the Chief Research & Innovation Officer and Head of Research & Engagement at the Swiss Re Institute. Most recently, he served as Chief Science Officer and Head of GX Labs at State Street Global Exchange in San Francisco. Before moving back to California, he established the Portfolio Analytics and Valuation Department within State Street Global Markets Japan in Tokyo. (He is fluent in Japanese.) He previously ran the Risk and Regulatory Financial Services consulting practice at PWC Japan.
Past appointments for Dr. Bohn include Head, Portfolio Analytics and Economic Capital at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore and General Manager, Financial Strategies group at Shinsei Bank in Tokyo where he supervised implementation of best-practice risk and capital analytics. Before moving to Asia, he led Moody’s KMV’s (MKMV’s) Global Research group and MKMV’s Credit Strategies group.
Dr. Bohn often conducts seminars on topics ranging from credit instrument valuation & portfolio management to machine learning. He has published widely in the area of credit risk. He co-authored with Roger Stein Active Credit Portfolio Management in Practice (Wiley, 2009). His recent research focuses on reinforcement learning, causal inference, factor modeling, and large-scale risk simulations. Dr. Bohn is an affiliated researcher at U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Risk Management Research and serves as a board member for the Consortium for Data Analytics in Risk (CDAR) spanning U.C. Berkeley, Stanford and several industry partners. On occasion, he teaches financial engineering at U.C. Berkeley, National University of Singapore’s Risk Management Institute, and Tokyo University.
Title:Building foundations for Quantum Cities™: A deep dive into the challenges hindering deployment of trustless, scalable, decentralized networks (TSDNs) Abstract: One important thread of research in progress at the Swiss Re Institute (SRI) is focused on understanding how cities & companies will engage with developing digital platforms. The interactivity & interoperability of these platforms are characteristics of digitally intelligent cities and foundational for SRI's cities-related umbrella research initiative called Quantum Cities™. These new digital platforms require development of trustless, scalable, decentralized networks (TSDNs.) These TSDNs will transform supply chain management, markets for data, the insurance value chain, and banking. Despite the promise of these TSDNs, many technical challenges remain unresolved that limit these networks' widespread deployment.
This presentation will start with a deep dive into the technical challenges that currently hinder widespread implementation of business-to-business, government-to-business, and business-to-government digital networks. Some challenges relate to technology while others relate to incentives that can sometimes prevent required scalability to a level that will support industry and process transformation.
Key challenges hindering widespread deployment of TSDNs include:
Developing machine-learning-compatible privacy-preserving data analytics
Complying with heterogeneous data regulations
Maintaining business-sustainable latency at scale
Cultivating digital trust in a zero-knowledge, trustless network to support algorithmic contracts & useful derived analytics
Facilitating an economic business model for platform/network owners & participants that is compelling and incentive compatible (i.e., all stakeholders’ incentives are compatible with robust successful operation of the platform)
Successful deployment of TSDNs will transform citizens, cities, companies, and governments. This presentation will also discuss how far TSDN-related R&D has progressed, the promise of the relevant foundational technologies, and how close we are to achieving this inevitable transformation.
Bio: Marcia Castro is Andelot Professor of Demography, and chair of the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, associate faculty of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and faculty member of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. She serves as a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS), and as co-director of the Brazil Studies Program at DRCLAS. The core of her research focuses on infectious diseases (particularly mosquito-borne), environmental change and health, spatial modeling, and child health and development. More specifically, she focuses on the development and use of multidisciplinary approaches, combining data from different sources, to identify the patterns and determinants of health outcomes, providing evidence for the improvement of current control policies, as well as the development of new ones. She earned a doctoral degree in Demography from Princeton University.
Title: Urban Growth and Public Health: Challenges and Opportunities Abstract: SDG11 focuses on sustainable cities and communities, and recognizes the need for better housing and sanitation, reduced overcrowding, upgraded slums, and better urban planning (that prioritize safe transport, and green and public spaces) as public health priorities. The presentation will reflect on public health challenges of fast urban growth, discussing the burden of infectious and non-communicable diseases, and of external causes, illustrated by contemporary and historical examples. It will also discuss opportunities that cities present to promote healthy living, and the difficulties/barriers to implementing them. Finally, it will briefly discuss if/how climate the crisis can modify health in urban landscapes.
Bio: Maya Abou Zeid is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at the American University of Beirut (AUB). She earned her PhD degree in Transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2009, her MS degree in Transportation from MIT in 2003, and her BE degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from AUB in 2001. Her research and professional interests are in the areas of travel behavior modeling and forecasting, urban transportation planning, and driving behavior and road safety.
Title:Modeling Social Norms and Travel Behavior with Application to Car Ownership Intentions Abstract: There is evidence that social norms, which refer to the behavior and expectations of others, affect individual choice behavior in various fields including transportation. While certain modeling frameworks have been advanced for including the effect of social norms or context on travel decisions, there is limited empirical work on identifying the elements of the social context that matter for travel choice behavior (e.g. tight vs. loose social networks) or to estimate choice models that include social influences. In this talk, I will give an overview of psychological theories underlying mass effects and conformity behavior, data and modeling methodologies, and evidence in the transportation field. I will then describe a cross-cultural study that we conducted in seven countries that span developed and developing contexts to study how social norms for car ownership vary in these contexts and how they shape intentions for car ownership of young people. I will present a hybrid choice model that incorporates various specifications of social norms to estimate the strength of the influence of these norms, and will conclude with policy implications for directing social norms towards more sustainable travel behavior.
Bio: Professor Nikolas Geroliminis is an Associate Professor at EPFL and the head of the Urban Transport Systems Laboratory (LUTS). Before joining EPFL he was an Assistant Professor on the faculty of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He has a diploma in Civil Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and a MSc and Ph.D. in civil engineering from University of California, Berkeley. He is an Associate Editor for Transportation Research part C and he also serves in the editorial board of TR, part B, Transportation Letters, Journal of ITS and of many international conferences. He is a member of the Transportation Research Board's Traffic Flow Theory Committee. His research interests focus primarily on urban transportation systems, traffic flow theory and control, public transportation and logistics, Optimization and Large Scale Networks. He is a recent recipient of the ERC Starting Grant METAFERW: Modeling and controlling traffic congestion and propagation in large-scale urban multimodal networks
Title:Traffic Management in the New Era of Mobility Services Abstract: Human mobility in large cities is a complex dynamical system with high density of population, many transport modes to compete for limited available space and many operators that try to efficiently manage different parts of this system. New emerging modes of transportation, such as ride-hailing and on-demand services, and new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, create additional opportunities, but also more complexity. The new era of sharing information and ‘big data world’ has raised our expectation to make mobility more predictable and controllable through a better utilization of existing resources and capacity. The primary motivation of this seminar is to study the spatiotemporal relation of congested links in large networks, observing congestion propagation from a macroscopic perspective, identifying the effect of multimodal interactions in network capacity and finally design network-level control strategies to improve multimodal mobility.
Bio: Paul Waddell teaches and conducts research on modeling and planning in the domains of land use, housing, economic geography, transportation, and the environment. He has led the development of the UrbanSim model of urban development, now used by Metropolitan Planning Organizations and other local and regional agencies for operational planning purposes in a variety of U.S. metropolitan areas such as Detroit, Houston, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle, as well as internationally in a growing list of cities in Europe, Asia, and Africa. His current research focuses on the assessment of the impacts of land use regulations and transportation investments on outcomes such as spatial patterns of real estate development and prices, travel behavior, emissions, and resource consumption. He is also working on ways to engage public participation in making complex policy choices. Over the past five years, Professor Waddell has served as PI or Co-PI on numerous research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, and state and local governments. He is also active in providing consulting for local governments in developing and applying analytic tools for decision support, and began his professional career working as a regional planner with the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Professor Waddell has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Planning Association, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Journal of Transport and Land Use, Transportation Letters, Applied Spatial Analysis and Planning, and International Journal of Microsimulation. His research is published broadly in journals in planning, geography, transportation, and urban economics.
Title:Information Infrastructure and Models for Metropolitan Land use and Transportation Modeling Abstract: Temporal dynamics and spatial patterns of urban development shape the need for transportation infrastructure investment and are also shaped by those transportation investments. Accessibility is influenced by both the spatial patterns of activities and by the transportation networks connecting them and also influences real estate rents, prices, demand and supply. This presentation explores the challenges associated with integrated planning of land use and transportation and describes new approaches to creating information infrastructure and models to support coordinated urban planning. The talk will address the development of integrated microsimulation models of urban development and transport, and the means to adapt these models and data to novel problems and contexts.
The Symposium is supported by the NYUAD Center for Interacting Urban Networks (CITIES), funded by Tamkeen under the NYUAD Research Institute Award CG001 and by the Swiss Re Institute under the Quantum Cities™ initiative.
Convened by Monica Menendez
Director of CITIES, Associate Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering, NYUAD Azza Abouzied Assistant Professor of Computer Science, NYUAD Saif Jabari
Assistant Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering, NYUAD Kinga Makovi
Assistant Professor of Social Research and Public Policy
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