Cities and the Built Environment

View from Brooklyn Bridge looking toward lower Manhattan

Above: A view of lower Manhattan from the deck of the Brooklyn Bridge. Much of the work in this department focuses on problems and solutions in and around urban environments.


We are witnessing a mass urbanization of the planet: the fraction of the world population living in urban areas could reach 70% by 2050. Half of the infrastructure that cities will need has not been built. Civil and environmental engineering is at the center of this unprecedented endeavor, ensuring that the future metropolis is more resilient, sustainable, livable and equitable.

Faculty in this department lead collaborative teams, enabling our discoveries to transcend the confines of a single researcher or even a single discipline. We study the response, recovery and adaptation of urban systems under the effects of natural and human-made hazards and in the face of a rapidly changing environment. We develop novel materials, adaptable structures, and cyberphysical systems to expand the horizon of the urban domain, and to ensure a sustainable trajectory for urbanization. We study the hydrometeorological impacts of urban land-use and how they intersect with the expected impacts of global climate change.



  • Sigrid Adriaenssens

    Mechanics and design of lightweight structures (shells, membranes, nets) under extreme loading, form finding and optimization methods
  • Elie Bou-Zeid

    Environmental Fluid Mechanics & Turbulence, Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Urban Climatology & Hydrology, Wind Energy
  • Maria Garlock

    Innovative Structural Design For Earthquake, Fire, Storm Surge; Buckling Thin Plates; History And Art Of Structures
  • Branko Glisic

    Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) Technologies, Methods, Data Analysis & Management; Smart & Heritage Structures
  • Ning Lin

    Hurricane Hazards, Risk Analysis, Coastal Resilience, Climate Change Adaptation
  • Denise Mauzerall

    Energy/air quality/water/climate nexus; Impacts of energy choices; Atmospheric chemistry modeling
  • Anu Ramaswami

    Sustainable infrastructure, cities, Food-Energy-Water Nexus, environmental modeling, science-policy linkages, India
  • Zhiyong (Jason) Ren

    Water-Energy Nexus; Environmental Technologies; Waste Treatment; Resource Recovery; Microbial Electrochemistry
  • James Smith

    Hydrology and Hydrometeorology of Extreme Floods
  • Claire White

    Sustainable Cements; CO2 Capture and Utilization; Disordered Materials: Multiscale Modeling and Characterization
  • Mark Zondlo

    Atmospheric Chemistry and Composition Group

Associated Faculty