CUSP Comes to Downtown Brooklyn
We’ve already heard that Downtown Brooklyn has surpassed even the great Cambridge, Massachusetts in terms of total student population. So NYU and NYU-Poly’s decision to build their new CUSP, or Center for Urban Science and Progress, here should come as no surprise to those aware of Downtown Brooklyn’s recent track record of integrating new technology and creative thinking into its economic backbone. When the new CUSP headquarters at 370 Jay Street are fully completed in 2017, it will become the 12th college based in Downtown Brooklyn. Until then, CUSP will make its home at 1 MetroTech Center, with the first class of 50 students beginning this fall.
The big idea behind the new education and research-oriented institute will be the study and application of “Urban Informatics.” No citizen of Brooklyn, and especially no person who has ever been to New York, can deny that in a big city like ours, there are a lot of people interacting and a lot of things going on all the time. CUSP is seeking to gain access to the chaotic, rapidly flowing river of data about urban life and turn that into findings to improve urban systems and living. Topics that feature massively in the lives of Brooklynites – such as noise pollution, transportation, and energy efficiency – are high up on the list of areas to study, said CUSP Director, Dr. Steven Koonin: “I believe the tools of ‘big data’ will allow CUSP to build urban informatics overlay that can discover new ways to address urban issues more rapidly than waiting to change the infrastructure will.”
It’s a promising new field that seems likely to become actively involved with Downtown Brooklyn and its residents, with potential for providing useful research to the innovative businesses that have been popping up in the downtown area for more than a decade. Over 500 new businesses, most in the tech and creative industries, have set up shop in Downtown Brooklyn since 2000. Dr. Koonin, a native of Brooklyn himself, expects that fact to pay off for CUSP as much as CUSP pays off to the neighborhood, praising Downtown Brooklyn as an ideal place “for realizing CUSP’s goal of using Brooklyn as a living laboratory to develop the new field of urban science.”