BARI and the City of Boston are founding members of the MetroLab Network, a new national alliance among 20 metro areas and more than 25 neighboring universities to research, develop and deploy innovative technologies to address critical challenges facing urban areas. The new network was announced on Monday, September 14 at a White House event launching a new Smart Cities Initiative that will invest over $160 million in federal research funds and leverage more than 25 new technology collaborations 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.
In a letter to President Obama signed by representatives of more than 20 metro areas and universities – including BARI Co-Directors Robert Sampson and Christopher Winship and Nigel Jacob, Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston – members of the network committed themselves to “collaborating within and across our communities to research, develop and deploy technology-enabled solutions that can help address our communities’ most pressing challenges.”
In the letter, city and university leaders from each locality agreed to identify and carry out at least three research, development and deployment projects by September 2016 and to participate as a founding member of the MetroLab Network through workshops and other knowledge sharing activities designed to create “a comprehensive research, development and deployment approach embracing multiple cities and multiple universities.” BARI Research Director Dan O’Brien will represent the Boston-area academic community on the new network’s steering committee.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is supporting the MetroLab Network with a $1 million grant to Carnegie Mellon University, which will coordinate the national effort. Alaina Harkness, program officer for the MacArthur Foundation, said: “The MetroLab Network will catalyze research, development, and demonstration projects that will benefit urban residents, environments, and communities. Working together, the network partners will pool knowledge, share resources, and boost their collective ability to make cities work better.”
Click here for more information about the MetroLab Network
Click here for more information about the White House announcement of the Smart Cities Initiative.