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Sybil Derrible, Ph.D.


Smart, Sustainable, and Resilient Cities

Engineer, Planner, 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!

In May 2018, I spent a few days in Berlin, and one night I saw the scene shown on the picture to the right: two workers and one supervisor doing some welding on the tram tracks, with the famous Berlin Fernsehturm Tower at the back; the tower was built during the time of the German Democratic Republic (GDR - East Germany) between 1965 and 1969 and it is the tallest building in Germany and second tallest in Europe, measuring 368 m. I was mesmerized by the scene and I wondered why they were welding the tracks. According to this document, it is to re-surface the tracks; since the tracks are embedded in the pavement, it is difficult to change them, and it is initially preferable to simply resurface them.


Welding of Tram Tracks, Berlin, Germany
Welding of Tram Tracks with Fernsehturm Sphere Tower in the backgroung, Berlin, Germany

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.