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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 Urban Engineering in the Department of Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering 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!

Michigan City Coal and Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant, Michigan City, IN
Michigan City Electricity Generating Station, Coal and Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant, Michigan City, Indiana, IN

Click on the picture to see a higher resolution photo.

Recently, I spent a couple of days in Northern Indiana, outside of Chicago. I had heard about the Indiana Dunes State and National parks for a while and it was time to visit them. While in Michigan City (IN), I saw a large concrete cooling tower. Initially, I thought it was a nuclear station, but I found it odd to see only one tower (i.e., only one reactor), usually they are more than one. Then, I saw a large complex nearby with belts that reminded me of coal-fired power plants. When I looked into it, I learned that it was indeed a coal-fired power plant, operated by the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO)—the concrete structure is the cooling tower. The picture is taken from a small bridge over Trail Creek. You can just about make up the cooling tower on the left-hand side and you can see the coal smoke stack in the middle. We can also barely make up the Old Lighthouse in the picture that is sitting right of the smoke stack. Lake Michigan is on the right-hand side and is magnificent. The good news is that the coal power plant is being decommissioned and Michigan City will be able to completely change its lakefront in the not-too-distant future. NIPSCO also owns two hydroelectric power plants. Onward and forward!

And if you look closely in the picture, you can see other infrastructure systems as well. Can you see them? The telecom towers? The roads? The green infrastructure? It is all there!

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.