Anyone who rides the subway knows that New York City’s population is expanding. More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and that number will grow to 70 percent within a few decades. Population growth strains existing infrastructure, and cities are struggling with how to adapt successfully and sustainably to future demands.
New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) — a direct response to Mayor Bloomberg’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative, which asks universities to research challenges cities will face in the future — is training students to apply problem-solving methods across any number of cities.
CUSP addresses rapid urbanization and its effects; New York City serves both as its home and its classroom. By combining global urbanization and the digital revolution—IBM estimates that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years, a startling number—CUSP hopes to become the preeminent organization tackling our future problems.
Housed in the Metrotech buildings in Downtown Brooklyn alongside NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering since its 2012 launch, CUSP officially opens its doors at its new location at 370 Jay Street. As part of NYU’s physical expansion in Brooklyn, 370 Jay Street will not only be CUSP’s home but will also house other NYU programs becoming a hub for digital technology and media arts and outreach programs, while also repurposing a long-vacant property.
Cities are “living laboratories,” and the Center focuses its research by exploring problems that cities currently face. As part of their work, CUSP collaborates with various New York City agencies through its Urban Science Intensive (USI). The USI is a six month applied urban analytics project that partners CUSP graduate students with agency sponsors to address a critical urban issue or research problem.
These partnerships provide a blueprint for partnering with other agencies and cities across the globe, creating a new area of study that CUSP calls “urban informatics.” For example, NYC creates a terabyte of data every day, encompassing everything from traffic to tickets to electricity. Previous examples of CUSP USI projects can be viewed here.
With industry partners like Siemens and Consolidated Edison, there will continue to be a strong focus on the talent coming in (and out) of Brooklyn, a hotbed for tech and innovation. This, combined with the collaboration between CUSP and the Tandon School of Engineering, marks NYU’s continued involvement in Brooklyn’s “Tech Triangle” as well as its commitment to Brooklyn as a whole.