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Profile Picture of Sybil DerribleCurriculum Vitae

Sybil Derrible, Ph.D.


Smart, Sustainable, and Resilient Cities

Urban Engineer | Complexity and Data Scientist




Welcome to my personal website. My name is Sybil Derrible, I am an Associate 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 Associate Professor with the Institute of Environmental Science and Policy, I have a courtesy appointment in the Department of Computer Science, and I am a faculty fellow at the Honors College at UIC.

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

Virtually everything we do nowadays involves telecom infrastructure in one form or another. The presence of telecom is particularly important in these times as many of us spend hours every day in front of our screens, having teleconference calls because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet, telecom infrastructure is so inconspicuous, it can be hard to find in cities. After all, a significant share of all telecommunication is done wirelessly, it should therefore not be surprising. In fact, cell towers tend to be hidden away, on top of ordinary buildings. Look for these white vertical rectangular boxes that do not look like much but that are placed in a circle, radiating their invisible hands to the world so that you can remain connected no matter where you go. While walking around the West Loop neighborhood in Chicago, I was thrilled to find an actual tower with a metallic structure. Even better, I managed to find the right angle to juxtapose it with a much larger telecom tower: the Willis Tower. The telecom infrastructure is such an important part of our lives, I ought to learn more about it.

Click on the picture to see a higher resolution photo.

Telecom Tower in West Loop, Chicago, IL

Cell tower, site, base station, West Loop, Near West Side, Sears Willis Tower, Chicago, IL


Research interests: My long-term interests include the planning, design, and modeling of urban infrastructure. More particularly, I look at both the supply of (e.g., network properties) and demand (e.g., consumption behavior) for infrastructure. From buildings, water/wastewater, electricity, gas, telecom, transport, and even solid waste, 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 rethink infrastructure planning and design practices and inform new policies to help design smart, sustainable, and resilient cities.