CITIES Symposium

The 1st CITIES symposium took place on November 24, 2019 at NYU Abu Dhabi, bringing together scholars from world-leading institutions to discuss cutting-edge research on the interdisciplinary challenges and opportunities surrounding cities. It provided a forum to learn and discuss some new ideas for increasing the livability and sustainability of our cities, and how they can contribute in propelling our cities into a richer and more sustainable future. Speakers at the symposium included the keynote speaker Jeffery Bohn, and Alfredo Morales, Chandrasekaran Mohan, Marcia Castro, Maya Abou Zeid, Nikolar Groliminis, and Paul Waddell.

  1. Jeffery Bohn, Chief Research & Innovation Officer and Head of Research & Engagement at the Swiss Re Institute, spoke about his research on the foundations of Quantum Cities and the development of trustless, scalable, decentralized networks (TSDNs).
  2. Alfredo Morales, visiting scientist at MIT Media Lab, working closely with Harvard and the UN, presented his research on social fragmentation in urban areas.
  3. Marcia Castro, Andelot Professor of Demography and chair of the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, spoke about the challenges and opportunities surrounding urban growth and public health.
  4. Chandrasekaran Mohan, IBM Fellow at the IBM Almaden Research Center and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, presented his work on the understanding blockchain as the fabric that enables orderly and secure social, digital and physical interactions in a city.
  5. Maya Abou Zeid, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at the American University of Beirut, presented her work on modeling social norms and travel behavior.
  6. Nikolas Geroliminis, Associate Professor at EPFL and Head of the Urban Transport Systems Laboratory, spoke about traffic management in the new era of mobility services.
  7. Paul Waddell, Professor of the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, presented his work on information infrastructure and models for metropolitan land use and transportation.

It was open to the NYUAD community and selected guests and it was extremely successful in this respect with more than 60 participants. Local and international stakeholders took part in two roundtables to discuss smart city solutions that were particularly impactful for Abu Dhabi. The round table included representatives of Swiss Re, CITIES, NYUAD leadership, Abu Dhabi Municipality, Abu Dhabi Police, Department of Transport, Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, IMKAN, and more.