Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University will be partnering with the City of Atlanta as founding members of the new White House Smart Cities initiative to research, develop and deploy new technologies to address challenges in the nation’s urban areas. The Administration is investing over $160 million to help local communities tackle key challenges such as reducing traffic congestion, fighting crime, fostering economic growth, managing the effects of a changing climate, and improving the delivery of city services.
According to the website, MetroLab's mission is to "bring together university researchers with city decision makers to research, develop, and deploy “RD&D” technology and analytically-based solutions, and provide the technical assistance critical to addressing the problems facing the services, systems, and infrastructure on which our citizens, cities, and regional economies depend. The new initiative is part of this Administration’s overall commitment to target federal resources to meet local needs and support community-led solutions."
The Georgia Tech partnership is one of 25 city-university partnership's being supported by the initiative. CUI Director, Dr. Jennifer Clark, was at the announcement on Monday Sept 14, which was made during the White House Smart Cities Forum.
"The MetroLab Network provides a forum for cities and universities to partner both within their own cities and to develop and diffuse solutions across cities using city-university partnerships on research and practice as the mechanism for that collaboration," Dr. Clark said. "The MetroLab Network builds interdisciplinary capacities within universities to address urban issues--particularly the opportunities that emerging technologies provide to shape "smart city" solutions. At the same time, the MetroLab Network builds and extends institutional capacities within city governments to learn how new technologies create opportunities for enhancing city services, promoting economic growth, and expanding access to all citizens."
By becoming founding members of the MetroLab Network, the City of Atlanta, George State and Georgia Technology are committing to collaboration, not only in Atlanta, but also with other city and university members.
The City of Atlanta press release quotes Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson as saying, “For years, various disciplines within Georgia Tech have helped cities throughout the state to develop potential solutions to infrastructure challenges... For example, our Center for Urban Innovation supports interdisciplinary research on urban sustainability and partners with other groups. The [MetroLab] Network allows us to take this work to a new level as we collaborate and leverage expertise in the smart cities effort.”