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Sybil Derrible, Ph.D.


Smart, Sustainable, and Resilient Cities

Engineer, Planner, Complexity and Data Scientist

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Welcome to my personal website. My name is Sybil Derrible, I am an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Infrastructure Systems in the Civil and Materials Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and the Director of the Complex and Sustainable Urban Networks (CSUN) Lab. I am also a Research Assistant Professor with the Institute of Environmental Science and Policy at UIC.

Make sure to check the new Complex and Sustainable Urban Networks (CSUN) Lab website!

I recently got to spend a weekend in San Diego and I stayed in a nice Airbnb apartment. The balcony of the apartment overlooked the house shown on the right. As an urban engineer, I immediately picked up a few things about the house. First, we can see that the roof has solar panels, which means the residents are able to generate some of their electricity. Moreover, we can see power lines a little further back that probably provide power to the house when the solar panels cannot supply enough electricity; at the same time, the power lines may receive any excess electricity generated by the solar panels. The chimney on the roof suggests that the house uses a gas furnace for heating and potentially a gas water heater, but they could/should probably use electricity. I am also not too sure what the extension of the roof does (behind the palm tree). It could be a water tank for solar water heating, which would be a great idea. Finally, the pool suggests the residents consume quite a bit of water, but they may harvest rainwater from looking at the downspouts on the roof. This house seems therefore to be on the right path to lower their energy and resource consumption and carbon emissions. The next step should be to install a ground source heat pump to provide heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.


Decentralizing the Power Grid, San Diego, CA

San Diego House Solar Photovoltaic Panel Decentralizing Decentralization Power Grid Swimming Pool Heating

Research interests: My long-term interests include the planning, design and modeling of urban infrastructure. More particularly, I look at the geometric and topological network feature of infrastructure, which is a vital component of "smart cities". Whether it is the water/wastewater system, the electricity grid, the building stock, or the transportation system, all are part of a nexus of co-dependent and ubiquitous elements of infrastructure that is critical to our cities, acting as a significant generator of economic activity and social development. My main goal is to redefine infrastructure planning and develop new practices to address the challenges of the 21st century.