Sybil Derrible

Derrible_-_Profile_PhotoAssistant Professor at the Civil and Materials Engineering Department
Research Assistant Professor at the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy
Director of the Complex and Sustainable Urban Networks (CSUN) Lab


Professor Derrible’s main goal is to develop new planning and design practices for more intelligent, integrated and distributed urban infrastructure systems. 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 vital to our cities. This network aspect of urban infrastructure is paramount and may hold the key for a more sustainable and resilient future.

Research interests include:
• Sustainable and Resilient Urban Infrastructure Planning
• Transport, Water, Electricity, Building Energy Modeling
• Complex Systems
• Infrastructure Network Design
• Network Science
• Agent-Based Modeling


Office: 2071 ERF
Phone: 312 996 2429
Research Group Website – Complex and Sustainable Urban Networks (CSUN) lab

Date:          Monday, April 04, 2016

Time:         10:00 – 10:50 am

Location:   Grant Hall 205



The why, what, and how in sustainable engineering design.


Is our current practice to plan urban infrastructure systems sustainable? And if it is not, why? In this lecture, we will first learn about principles of diminishing marginal returns from Joseph Tainter that illustrate well why we need to change our current practice. We will then define sustainability and develop two principles that we can systemically apply in our designs.  Third, we will then look at examples of successful sustainable practices in the realms of: electricity, water, transportation, and building science. We will notably learn that in our era, the key to sustainable design relies more in demand management, and that technology is useless if it is purely applied for efficiency gains.


Energy and material flows of megacities by Kennedy: