Through the novel use of observational and analytical techniques, the Urban Observatory at New York University’s Center for Urban Science + Progress (CUSP-UO) studies the complex interactions between the physical, natural, and human components of the city as a coherent, definable system with the goal of enhancing public well-being, city operations, and future urban plans. With our persistent, synoptic imaging and sensing of NYC, researchers at the UO are developing insights into energy use and stresses on the power grid, measuring the environmental impact of cities on air quality, and characterizing how urban centers affect patterns of daily life and public health.
For more information, see the Urban Observatory white paper.
urban observatory; broad-band imaging energy proxies; rebound studies; circadiem disruption; ecological impact of urban lighting; infrared building dynamics; hyperspectral plumes; vegetative health
Senior Research Scientist
hypertemporal imaging, visible plumes, street level image analysis
water vapor and latent heat detection
network infrastructure; software defined radio; human mobility
energy studies under the ARPA-E IDEAS grant
EnvironmentTime-dependent visible wavelength imaging is used to identify soot plumes ejected from NYC buildings and track them as they are transported by urban winds. Hyperspectral imagery yields both the chemical content and concentration of those plumes, providing a unique method to measure air quality in NYC. Observations of chlorophyll in urban vegetation are correlated with data from in situ air quality sensors to measure the impact of urban energy use on vegetation. Nighttime imaging of the skyline is correlated with radar and volunteer data to study impacts of urban lighting on migrating bird ecologies.
Human FactorsUsing both remote and street-level imaging systems, we are quantifying patterns of life related to human mobility, determining technology adoption and usage characteristics, developing surrogate metrics for traffic safety, and measuring the public health impacts of light pollution via circadian disruption.
The work of the UO was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal (By Robert Lee Hotz, December 11, 2015)
other features articles include:
- From the Milky Way to Midtown, A New Way to See a City Commercial Property Executive Commercial Property Executive
- NYU Observatory Captures "Pulse of City" Crain's New York Business
- A Secret Urban Observatory Is Snapping 9,000 Images A Day Of New York City Fast Company
- NYU CUSP Aims Continuous Camera at Lower Manhattan Technical.ly/Brooklyn
- Urban Physics American Physical Society
- NYU CUSP Unveils First-Of-Its-Kind ‘Urban Observatory’ In Downtown Brooklyn City Biz List
- Don’t Miss a Beat PRISM
- They’re Tracking When You Turn Off the Lights Wall Street Journal
PIs :Bianco, Dobler
The IDEAS (Innovative Development in Energy-Related Applied Science) program provides a continuing opportunity for the rapid support of early-stage applied research to explore pioneering new concepts with the potential for transformational and disruptive changes in energy technology