CSUN - Complex and Sustainable Urban Networks Laboratory
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complex and sustainable urban networks laboratory


Welcome to the website of the complex and sustainable urban networks (CSUN) laboratory.

We live in a fascinating world and we have some significant challenges to overcome. The mission of CSUN is to advance scientific knowledge and create software for the design of smart, sustainable, and resilient cities. This website aims to describe the activities going on within CSUN, but we also have many projects that are about to start, and we invite you to come back frequently.


Latest News

In high-income countries, drinking water is distributed through large, aging pipe systems that are constantly under pressure (thus prone to rupture). Once water arrives in buildings, it is supposed to be in perfect condition, ready to be drunk when a tap is open. Does this model sound reasonable to you?

It does not sound reasonable to us. While it may be reasonable for small distribution systems, this constant pressure and water quality standard is like a ticking time bomb that puts ever more pressure (pun intended) on water utilities (not unlike electric utilities that have to operate the power grid). The golden standard to "collect, treat, distribute, consume" requires an excessive amount of energy; it is neither resilient nor sustainable.

In search for an alternative, we can learn from Hanoi (Vietnam). In Hanoi, clean water is distributed at low pressures, thus requiring less energy. In buildings, water is first stored in basement tanks and then pumped to rooftop tanks so that gravity alone is used to distribute the water. This way, buildings can be self-sufficient for several days even during power outages. If needed, water is then treated one more time at the faucet to ensure it is drinkable. Compared to the golden standard, the model used in Hanoi is "collect, treat, distribute, store, treat, consume." It requires less energy and it is more resilient. See the schematic below.

You can read more about the topic and the benefits of the Hanoi model, and you can see a neat picture of rooftop tanks in Hanoi in our latest paper published in npj Urban Sustainability.

This work came from a fantastic collaboration between Dr. Thanh T. M. Truong (University of Transport Technology), Dr. Hung T. Pham (National University of Civil Engineering), and Dr. Quan H. Nguyen (Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City), who CSUN Director Sybil Derrible met during his six-month sabbatical in Vietnam.

Water distribution system, golden standard, hanoi water model, collect, treat, distribute, store, treat, consume, nature. Adpated from Derrible, S., Truong, T.T.M., Pham, H.T. et al. Learning from Hanoi to imagine the future of water distribution. npj Urban Sustainability 1, 9 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42949-020-00001-x