Concordia shapes the future of urban life with the Next-Generation Cities Institute

Concordia University is assembling more than 200 researchers within 14 Research Centers from science, engineering, the arts and humanities disciplines to establish the Next-Generation Cities Institute.
The Institute focuses on a variety of subjects, including zero-carbon infrastructure, improved mobility of people or goods, and development of innovative technologies and smart services.

According to the University, the Institute os home to the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Cities and Communities. The initiative aims to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges, including sustainability transformation, resilient communities, digitalization, cybersecurity and AI, transportation and mobility.

“We’re incredibly excited about this new initiative,” says Concordia President Graham Carr. “Sustainability is an issue of global importance and Concordia is committed to addressing it. The Next-Generation Cities Institute will be essential to mobilizing research to further our goals.”

More than 50 per cent of the world’s population live in cities and by 2050, the University suggests that the proportion will rise to 75 per cent, making the efficient design of cities all the more important.

“Cities are great places. Because of their density, they can be the most efficient and sustainable form of human development,” says Ursula Eicker, who holds the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities at Concordia.

“They generate most of the world’s gross domestic product and are the locus of innovation and productivity. At the same time, they are responsible for two thirds of carbon emissions. If we don’t transform cities worldwide, we’re going to have serious problems.”

Eicker has spent the past year establishing the Next-Generation Cities Institute, which she co-directs with Carmela Cucuzzella, Concordia University Research Chair in Integrated Design, Ecology and Sustainability for the Built Environment.

Cucuzzella and Eicker say the Institute project is ambitious, and the challenges it faces go far beyond the technical and scientific so the work of the Institute has to reach beyond the university itself.

“As an institute, we want to build new knowledge about the integrated, sustainable design of our urban environments, passing from the technical, to the built, to the socio-cultural qualities of the city, and we want this knowledge to be shareable with other cities around the world,” says Cucuzzella.

To read more about the Next Generation Cities Institute, visit: https://www.concordia.ca/news/stories/2020/11//16/concordia-launches-the-next-generation-cities-institute.html

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