Urban Physics

Urban physics takes inspiration from the molecular structures of complex materials. Researchers use map data to capture the internal structure of city environments, then simplify complicated city conditions to identify patterns: some cities are laid out on a precise grid where the arrangement of buildings resembles the ordering of atoms in a crystal, while others are arranged more chaotically like the disordered atoms in a liquid or glass. City texture reveals a lot about how the area will respond to high winds in a storm, or to a major environmental event like a hurricane or earthquake. Texture has also been shown to be the most important determinant of an area’s urban heat island effect.

Topic Summaries

Research Briefs


Peer-Reviewed Publications

Webinar Video

This webinar was presented on May 3, 2018. Click here for a list of upcoming webinars and additional webinar videos.


See also: Building and City Energy Consumption