Strategic Objectives

The United Nations estimates that over 60 percent of the population will live in urban areas by 2030. This rapid rate of urbanization is putting additional strain on urban systems and posing new challenges across a multitude of sectors, such as increasing population, migration, economic instabilities and disparities, health threats, and extreme weather events. Interdisciplinary research has been established at NYU Abu Dhabi to address these challenges.

The Center for Interacting Urban Networks promotes excellence in research that leads to real improvements in terms of economic opportunity and growth, safety and security, health and wellness, and the overall quality and sustainability of everyday life in urban areas. It is fundamental research that can ultimately be translated into practical ideas for increasing the livability of our cities, with a particular emphasis on Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

Fully aligned with Abu Dhabi 2030 vision, the vision of the Center includes an ambitious Urban Development Plan focusing on six key directions: Sustainability, Unique Environment, Evolving Culture, Identity and Opportunity, Connectivity, Excellence, and Livability.

To establish a vibrant and globally recognized knowledge hub for sustainable urban networks: The intellectual merit and interdisciplinary aspects of the research supported by the Center help position NYUAD as an international leader in topics related to cities with a special focus on the developing world, where change is expected to be most dramatic.

To bridge the gap between scientific significance and practical value: Although initially inspired by global challenges, many of our research goals align with Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision. The Center seeks to involve local and regional stakeholders and position evolving Gulf cities as pioneers in urban science. This includes instrumenting real urban environments (by developing measurement tools and technologies), tracking urban change and quantifying its consequences, and testing the impact of proposed solutions in the real world.

To support existing and promote new educational opportunities: An active student involvement plan, combined with new co-teaching/advising initiatives, increases interactions with relevant undergraduate programs across the NYU global community. Additionally, the development of new graduate programs, as well as a new executive education program, will contribute to NYUAD’s mission to increase and improve its educational offerings in the Middle East. This guarantees the continuous development of human capital capable of addressing challenges faced by the UAE and the rapidly developing and globalizing world.

To develop a unique research and educational infrastructure: In partnership with national and international companies, CITIES aims to establish and maintain new field labs in the city. This allows us to test and showcase cutting-edge applications in the field. Through such field labs, the Center also encourages interaction between academia, industry, the government, and local stakeholders. As such, this creates both a real and virtual collaboration environment that transcends time and distance.

To strengthen the New York University Global Network: Through the involvement of faculty from the three major NYU campuses, the proposed Center fosters exchange of knowledge across campuses. This further solidifies NYU’s position as a global research institution.