Summer Research Program

Each summer CITIES offers a fantastic opportunity to a selected group of talented undergrad students to get their hands dirty on urban science research under the guidance of CITIES faculty.  This summer (2020) CITIES activated five summer projects.

From local traffic phenomena to network congestion

Student: Sungmin Sohn
Professor: Monica Menendez

Traffic congestion is a growing problem for cities across the world, especially as urban population and motorization rates continue to increase. To address such a challenge, transportation entities worldwide are investigating and deploying new traffic management schemes. However, for these management schemes to be effective, we first must fully understand the mechanisms behind the propagation of congestion in urban networks. In this project, we are studying the relation between local traffic phenomena and overall network congestion. In particular, we are investigating the relationship between the speed at which congestion propagates in a link and the speed at which the network becomes congested. To do so, we are using large scale traffic simulations and the concepts of the fundamental diagram to model the link, and the macroscopic fundamental diagram to model the network.

Enabling employee discrimination reporting - the role of neighborhood and company composition

Student: Soohyun Hwangbo
Professor: Kinga Makovi

What drives people to report employment discrimination in their organizations? Soohyun Hwangbo has been mapping organizations where discrimination was alleged using a novel data set of 12,000 discrimination claims that we acquired as a public records request in the state of California, US. Soohyun is exploring how the composition of geographic communities in terms of race, class, population density, as well as the characteristics of the organizations themselves makes reporting different types of employment discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender, etc., more or less likely. In addition to these factors, she is capitalizing on this unique opportunity to understand the impact of the #MeToo movement and the most recent presidential election on reporting dynamics. The CITIES summer research assistantship has allowed Soohyun to develop new data analysis skills in handling geographic data, as well as to explore the literatures on discrimination and organizational culture, which further prepares her to work on her capstone project during her senior year in 2020-’21.

Effect of microgravity on physical, chemical, microstructural and mechanical properties of potential materials for planetary construction via 3D printing

Student: Majid Abduljalil Al-Abbasi
Professor: Kemal Celik

Several missions have been conducted or planned for engineers, scientists, researchers, and astronauts, especially those working in the UAE, to discover new knowledge that can pave the way towards creating a livable environment in space. The unique microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS) will be an excellent testbed to provide an insight into the behavior of construction materials in space. In this context, Mr. Majid Abduljalil Al-Abbasi will be conducted a literature review on the potential construction materials for planetary construction via 3D printing at Advanced Materials and Building Efficiency Research (AMBER) Lab.

Design and Characterization of Ultra-High-Performance Concrete using Reactive Magnesium Oxide Cement

Student: Cornelius Otchere
Professor: Kemal Celik

Ordinary Portland cement is responsible for 7-8% of human-made CO2 emissions. Ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) uses twice as much ordinary Portland cement (OPC) as is normally used in conventional concrete. Mr. Cornelius Otchere will be doing a literature review for the effect of materials constituents such as alternative types of cement, fibers, fiber ratios, and carbonation period on compressive, flexural strength, ductility, and fracture properties on UHPC.

Documenting and visualizing Urban Environments

Student: Tonia Zhang et al.
Professor: Felix Beck

A team of NYUAD students, together with Prof. Felix Beck (NTSI Lab), is exploring several ways of documenting and visualizing urban environments. A first result is a photogrammetric 3D model of the southeast side of NYUAD campus. The team explores visualization techniques of weather conditions (humidity, fog, dust, etc.) and to match the virtual position of the sun with recorded shadows. 

The same group also works on the integration of a geodesic structure into the virtual model (see screenshot above). The designed structure is planned to host a future building site of a bronze-age boat as well as several information displays that the team designs together with the Dhakira Heritage Lab. This collaboration with Prof. Robert Parthesius also covers several experimental designs of media installations to visualize and narrate archeological findings, oral history, and experimental archaeology.