Dr. Steve Koonin of NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and his colleagues are perched atop New York City, surveying the cityscape from their Urban Observatory. Or at least, they are metaphorically speaking—the Urban Observatory is a research project developed by scholars at CUSP that uses photography to monitor broad trends such as energy use, pollution, and blackout coverage in the city. In this week’s episode of Deconstructing IoT, Dr. Koonin speaks with us not only about why he thinks the Urban Observatory will become an effective way to analyze information on a city-wide scale, but also about some of the other initiatives that new technologies have enabled for using big data to improve city life. He then goes on to describe how CUSP’s model of forming partnerships among universities, businesses, and government agencies can be especially productive for collecting, analyzing, and acting upon urban data. This is part 1 of our interview; check in next week to watch part 2.