Cities and the built environment shape our daily living but are also key to tackling global challenges, and foremost climate change. Many professionals from different fields contribute important analysis and sometimes exciting solutions to urban-scale sustainability challenges. But the rapid pace of urbanization makes it difficult to find place-specific solutions in adequate time at scale. In my talk, I show how emerging big data available globally can help to model and identify solutions quickly that are nonetheless truthful to their places and context. Key considerations involve energy simulations of buildings and street use and their embedded carbon, the role of dynamic agent-based behaviour, the governance architecture of big data and the resulting policy solutions. I argue that the urban system engineering of the 21st century requires a value-driven sustainability mindset to adequately meet the global environmental challenges.
Felix Creutzig is Professor of Sustainability Economics of Human Settlements at Technical University Berlin and leads the Working Group Land-Use, Transport, and Infrastructures at the Mercator Research Institute on Climate Change and Global Commons. As Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC's AR6, he is spearheading the assessment of demand-side and service-based solutions for climate change mitigation. In 2017, he was awarded the prestigious Piers Sellers Prize, recognizing his exceptional research on urban-scale climate solutions. Dr. Creutzig holds degrees in physics, mathematics and medical studies from the Albert-Ludwig-University in Freiburg, Germany, and the University of Cambridge, UK, obtained his PhD in computational neuroscience and machine learning from Humboldt-University Berlin, and acquired further skills in urban and environmental economics as postdoc with the China Energy Foundation in Beijing, the Energy Resource Group in Berkeley, and the Princeton Environmental Institute.