Center for Interacting Urban Networks sara

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. 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.

  • CITIES main goal is to promote cutting-edge research that leads to tangible improvements for sustainable, resilient, and equitable cities. Research in CITIES is organized around four research clusters: (1) The Digital-Physical Nexus, (2) The Physical- Social Nexus, (3) The Social-Digital Nexus, (4) The Intra-Inter-City Nexus.

    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;
    - the social layer, which includes humans, their interactions, and the social networks that transpire.

    Such interactions shape not only the urban systems within a city but also across cities. This framework allows CITIES to study dynamically evolving urban phenomena using a variety of disciplinary, methodological, and theoretical lenses while adopting a holistic perspective. CITIES aims to understand how urban systems evolve, and to develop the right strategies to guide such evolution towards a more sustainable future.

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Center for Interacting Urban Networks


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.