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Urban Science


Better understanding of cities and citizens

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Urban Science


Better understanding of cities and citizens

The world is rapidly urbanizing. Cities currently account for a significant amount of green house gases, energy use, and gross domestic product.  By the year 2030, six out of ten people on Earth will live in cities. This rapid urban growth will have a profound impact on global health, the environment, and economics.

Yet despite living in cities for thousands of years, we still understand little about how they work or how to construct and govern cities to maximally benefit inhabitants. Most existing urban research -- environmental studies, social surveys, epidemiological observations -- covers small, disconnected pockets of the city, leaving massive holes in our knowledge and huge opportunities for the new field of data-driven urban science.

UrbanCCD seeks to understand cities in a new way, ultimately leading to better tools and resources for city designers, decision-Makers, and residents. To this end, urbanccd brings scientists and students from diverse disciplines together with government agencies, organizations, and individual residents to explore opportunities for bringing technology, computer and computational science, and mathematics to bear on understanding the multi-dimensional complexity of cities.

Our Array of Things urban sensing network “instruments the city” by placing multi-sensor nodes throughout neighborhoods, collecting high-resolution data about the environment, infrastructure, and life of the city. Data collected by these sensors is open and free to researchers, government agencies, and the public.

We’re also making it easier to discover and work with urban data. Our Plenario data discovery and exploration platform gives users an open data search system that lets them identify an area on a map and a time period of interest, then lets them see and analyze data from multiple sources available for that area and time period.  Users can refine their searches and visualize and download the results for further analysis.  plenario also supports a rich application programming interface (API) for developers building data analytics tools and services.

To understand the complex interconnectedness of cities requires multidisciplinary collaboration. The Urban Sciences Research Coordination Network, organized and facilitated by UrbanCCD, connects computer scientists, mathematicians, public health and education experts, architects, urban planners, social scientists, and artists for innovative new partnerships focused on cities. UrbanCCD also partners with city governments, private industry, and other urban research centers worldwide on projects to make cities cleaner, healthier, and more livable.