Center for Interacting Urban Networks

The United Nations estimates over 60 percent of the population will live in urban areas by 2030. This rapid rate of urbanization is putting additional strain on urban systems and posing new challenges across a multitude of sectors. Fully aligned with the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision, interdisciplinary research has been established at NYU Abu Dhabi to address these challenges.

The Center for Interacting Urban Networks promotes excellence in research that leads to real improvements in terms of economic opportunity and growth, safety and security, health and wellness, and the overall quality and sustainability of everyday life in urban areas. It is fundamental research that can ultimately be translated into pragmatic ideas for increasing the livability of our cities, with a special emphasis in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

The vision of the Center includes an ambitious Urban Development Plan focusing on six key directions:

  • Sustainability
  • Unique Environment
  • Evolving
  • Culture, Identity, and Opportunity
  • Connectivity
  • Excellence and Livability

Strategic Objectives

  1. Bring together faculty across the four divisions of the university: Engineering, Science, Social Science, and Arts and Humanities, to establish a vibrant and globally recognized knowledge hub advancing research on the sustainability of urban networks. The intellectual merit and interdisciplinary vision of the Center will help position NYUAD as an international leader in topics related to cities, further reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s unique position as a trendsetter.
  2. To work with local and regional stakeholders to bridge the gap between scientific significance and practical value. In particular, make sure the research and  solutions proposed not only address global challenges, but also pay tribute to the unique environment associated with the region.
  3. The Center will include an ambitious educational plan with several initiatives to support undergraduate education, including interdisciplinary projects, Capstones, and courses; two new graduate programs (NYUAD-based PhD and MSc in collaboration with CUSP); and a new executive education program. The initiatives are fully aligned with NYUAD’s educational mission and aim to increase the human capital in the region to support Abu Dhabi’s Evolving Culture.
  4. The Center will develop unique research and educational infrastructure by establishing and maintaining two field labs in partnership with local companies and the government, allowing us to showcase Abu Dhabi’s Identity at an international level while creating a unique opportunity for developing and testing cutting edge ideas addressing urban challenges.
  5. The Center will stimulate the connectivity between urban components, and across disciplines, we will strengthen the New York University Global Network by fostering the collaboration and exchange of knowledge across campuses, further solidifying NYU’s position as a global research institution.

Researcher Spotlight

Urban Family Planning

Professor Monica Menendez' journey balancing cutting-edge research and motherhood.


Monica Menendez
Associate Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering
Azza Abouzied
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Saif Jabrari
Assistant Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering
Kinga Makovi
Assistant Professor of Social Research and Public Policy