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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 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!

The famous Warner Bros. studios are located in Burbank, CA, right next to the Los Angeles river. During a recent trip to Los Angeles, the urban engineer that I am was directly drawn, not to the studios, but to the river that flows in an artificial concrete channel. Because of its climate, LA receives little rain, and the river has normally a low flow, but heavy rains can easily create flash floods. After a severe flood in the 1930s, the US Army Corps of Engineers decided to contain the river in a concrete channel to prevent future floods—but there are exciting plans in place to change the river! The picture also shows utilities poles on the right and trucks in the studio grounds, which again demonstrate how infrastructure is ubiquitous in cities. To give it a "movie" effect, I gave the picture a sandy sky and we can see the shiny Warner Bros. logo in the top left. Click on the picture to see a higher resolution photo.


Los Angeles River with a Sandy Sky by Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank, CA
LA Los Angeles river with concrete channel and a sandy sky by Warner Borthers Bros. studios in Burbank, California, CA

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.