NYU Team Triumphs in U.N. Data for Climate Action Challenge

Urban Intelligence Lab data dashboard

Constantine Kontokosta — Assistant Professor in Tandon’s Department of Civil and Urban Engineering and the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), the Director of the Urban Intelligence Lab, and the Deputy Director for Academics at CUSP — recently led a team that participated in the U.N. Data for Climate Action Challenge, a call to the world’s data scientists, researchers, analysts, and innovators to develop viable, data-driven climate solutions.

The team, which included Yuan Lai, Bartosz Bonczak, Boyeong Hong, Sokratis Papadopoulos, Awais Malik, and Nick Johnson, developed a first-of-its-kind high-resolution spatial-temporal model of urban greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, transportation systems, and point sources such as power generation facilities and industrial plants.

After presenting their work in November at the 2017 U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, they beat out a field of more than 450 data and climate science teams from 67 countries to win an award in the category of best data visualization.

Their project, which integrated data from Waze, Twitter, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and U.S. Department of Energy, among other such groups, is now being expanded thanks to funding from the NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability and the National Science Foundation, with the goal of operationalizing the tool in New York and other urban areas. (Further work will be done in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.)