The NYUAD’s Center for InTeractIng urban nEtworkS (CITIES – مدن) is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to advance urban science and promote cutting-edge research that is translated into practical, real-world solutions for the benefit of society. Our ultimate goal is to foster sustainable, resilient, and equitable cities.


Our mission is to establish a vibrant and globally recognized knowledge hub for urban networks, bridge the gap between scientific significance and practical value, and further develop the human capital that will propel the city of Abu Dhabi and the UAE into a richer and more sustainable future.


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. Thus, both the benefits and negative externalities associated with urbanization will be unequally shared across countries or even within cities. 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.

CITIES aims to address those challenges by leading the development of new sustainable approaches. To that end, CITIES leverages the expertise of faculty members from the four divisions of NYUAD and world-renowned scientific collaborators from multiple institutions within and beyond the NYU Global Network, as well as local stakeholders and private companies across the UAE and abroad.

In particular, CITIES supports research focusing on the interactions between two or more of the following urban layers:

  • the social layer, which includes humans, their interactions, and the social networks that transpire;
  • the digital layer, which includes data produced by humans, devices, and sensors;
  • the physical layer, which includes physical infrastructure, instrumentation, and networks of devices.