Centre For Urban Science And Engineering

The Centre for Urban Science & Engineering (CUSE) at IIT Bombay is an interdisciplinary centre for research, teaching and skilled manpower development with the primary mandate of improving urban quality of life.

The Centre aims to combine science and technology with sustainable, equitable and human-friendly design to deliver innovative and holistic services to improve the life of the rapidly urbanizing population in the developing world. The research activities of the Centre focus on new products and solutions related to housing, transport, water management, energy efficiency, urban informatics, health, governance, urban poverty and citizen science while mitigating the effects of natural disasters and climate change.

The Centre, located at the urban metropolis of Mumbai, aims to establish links with various institutes within India and abroad that are addressing urban challenges. The mission of the Centre is to be a globalized institution that would enable interactions among researchers, offer educational programs, encourage faculty and student exchanges and help learn from diverse contexts with the aim of making cities of the world, especially the developing world, more livable.


Background

According to the United Nations, by 2050, more than 80% of the world population (estimated to be 9.3 billion) will be living in urban areas. The biggest contributors to this drastic change in the landscape of urban/rural population are the developing nations from Asia. Over the next four decades (2010 to 2050), India will add another 497 million to its urban population, China 341 million, and Indonesia 92 million. The challenges brought on by this drastic increase in urban population among the developing economies will stretch the limits of how societies function and how they can sustain productive economic and socio-cultural activities among its citizens. The latest advances in science and technology have to be brought to bear on these problems, without losing sight of the economics involved as well as the end-customer who will consume these technologies.

Hence, a research and educational oriented “urban centre” has been set up in India at IIT Bombay —   specifically to address the urban challenges of the developing world, plagued with issues including but not limited to unplanned growth, lack of clean water, polluted air, poverty, poor health, by bringing together the best practitioners from science, technology, engineering and design. This Centre aims to establish quality of life indicators and identify methods to promote them in a sustainable manner, through collaborative research and data analysis.

Cities can be fountain-heads of innovation and growth, if its citizens are  provided facilities to enjoy a decent quality of life. Once the basic necessities such as accommodation, water and food are fulfilled, quality of life depends on factors such as education, health, recreation and a sense of safety and security in day to day life. Clean and safe public spaces, community gardens and safe streets for children and elderly alike, helps to build confident and creative communities. Shorter commute times, pollution and noise free environment and work-life balance are some of the indicators of quality of life.

With a booming industrial and knowledge-based economy in India,  it is expected that a research and educational centre as C-USE, located in one of its urban metropolis,  will draw upon the  large talent pool to drive the innovation agenda for urban development and improving quality of life for its citizens.


Integrated Approach

Urban issues traverse a vast range of disciplines. The core strength of this Centre is in bringing together multiple disciplines and addressing various urban challenges in a holistic way. For sustainable growth of the Centre and creation of innovative urban solutions, interactions and collaborations with researchers and faculties from various departments at IIT Bombay and other world class universities, the central, state and local government bodies, stakeholders in business and advocacy groups and global governments, is desired and encouraged.

The Centre has over 30 associate faculty members from various disciplines within IIT Bombay including Civil Engineering, Computer Science Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Energy Science & Engineering, Environmental Science & Engineering,  Humanities, Industrial Design, Operations Research and School of Management. Hence, the Centre coalesces multiple research and educational urban-related activities that are already happening at IIT Bombay.

One hallmark of this Centre is its focus on citizen science. The Centre will engage in community outreach to disseminate information regarding various aspects of urban life and how various systems such as housing, land use, transportation, water, public health, etc. are interrelated and co-dependent on how people use such systems. The Centre aims to conduct research to educate and spread awareness among communities to simultaneously tackle the urban challenges from grassroots levels along with technological advances.

The integrated approach of all the stake holders (institutions, departments, governments, people) will enable development of unique innovative solutions, for solving urban challenges of the developing mega cities and promote sustainable future growth .


Way Forward

The Centre will develop a strong presence by interacting with various stakeholders within India and abroad. It will enable creation of a new breed of specialists and leaders, who will come from various regions across the world and facilitate exchange of ideas, designs and solutions. 
IIT Bombay envisions the Centre to be a welcoming and interactive platform that will bring brilliant minds and new ideas together and create world leaders. The Centre’s doctoral Program is aimed at intensive research to find solutions of the urban challenges of metro cities of developing nations; a Masters program is in the pipeline as is an undergraduate Minor program. The Centre continually organizes invited talks by International collaborators and researchers,  lecture series, workshops, etc. for brainstorming, detailed discussions and identifying solutions for various urban issues.


ICUSE 2020

1st International Conference on Urban Science and Engineering

28th- 29th February 2020