Center for Interacting Urban Networks

Current estimates by the United Nations anticipate that by 2030 urban areas will hold 60 percent of the world’s population, including over 40 megacities, most located in the global South. Thus, both the benefits and negative externalities associated with urbanization will be unequally shared across countries, or even within cities. This rapid rate of urbanization poses new economic, social, and environmental challenges. Rapidly evolving cities, such as those in the UAE, and the growing needs for mobility, energy, water, and other scarce resources demand new sustainable approaches for the design, development, and management of urban networks.

Inspired by both, Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision and NYUAD’s signature research themes, the NYUAD’s Center for InTeractIng urban nEtworkS (CITIES - مدن) aims to address those challenges. In other words, CITIES is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to advance urban science and promote cutting-edge research that leads to tangible improvements fostering sustainable, resilient, and equitable cities.

In particular, CITIES supports research focusing on the interactions between two or more of the following urban layers:

    the physical layer, which includes physical infrastructure, instrumentation, and networks of devices;
    the digital layer, which includes data produced by humans, devices, and sensors; and
    the social layer, which includes humans, their interactions, and the social networks that transpire.

To that end, CITIES leverages the expertise of faculty members from the four divisions of NYUAD, and world-renowned scientific collaborators from multiple institutions within and beyond the NYU Global Network, as well as local stakeholders and private companies across the UAE and abroad. CITIES researchers work synergistically to establish a vibrant and globally recognized knowledge hub for urban networks, to bridge the gap between scientific significance and practical value, and to further develop the human capital that will propel the city of Abu Dhabi and the UAE into a richer and more sustainable future.


This work was 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.