Urban Science Centre Born in Big Apple

What better birthplace for an institute of urban science than a soot-stained edifice in downtown Brooklyn? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that the mainly vacant building will house a world-class research institute, to be led by theoretical physicist Steven Koonin, former undersecretary for science at the US Department of Energy. 

At the future Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), researchers will crunch data on aspects of the city to solve problems related to energy and health-care, among others. Koonin says that urban science means “understanding and modelling the city as a totality — its system of systems, its infrastructure, its condition and its operation.” 

For winning a bid, government officials will rent the city-owned space to New York University (NYU) for US$1 a year, in addition to granting the private university $15 million in the form of reduced costs on energy and other expenses. The Polytechnic Institute of New York University; the City University of New York; Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the University of Warwick, UK; the University of Toronto in Canada and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay are also involved with the centre. 

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