ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed announced that Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) will be founding members of the MetroLab Network, as part of the White House Smart Cities Forum, to research and develop and deploy new technologies to address challenges in the nation’s urban areas.
The MetroLab Network will provide the opportunity to share successes, address challenges and build shared platforms for experimentation and data between cities and universities necessary to increase the tangible results of new innovations.
“The City of Atlanta is proud to participate in the MetroLab Network,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “We look forward to leveraging this opportunity to take advantage of our strong university talent base and their extensive experience in technology, engineering and computer science to develop innovative solutions to some of our most pressing infrastructure and service challenges.”
The MetroLab Network is based on previous successes of technologies developed from established city/university partnerships. These partnerships have produced innovative transportation and water infrastructure projects that have increased the efficiency and reduced the environmental impact of infrastructure systems.
“As an urban research university, Georgia State is deeply entrenched in Atlanta’s success and in the success of cities around the world,” said Georgia State President Mark Becker. “We welcome the opportunity to work closely with the City of Atlanta and Georgia Tech to find creative solutions to critical societal issues.”
“For years, various disciplines within Georgia Tech have helped cities throughout the state to develop potential solutions to infrastructure challenges,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. ‘Bud’ Peterson. “For example, our Center for Urban Innovation supports interdisciplinary research on urban sustainability and partners with other groups. The Metro Lab Network allows us to take this work to a new level as we collaborate and leverage expertise in the smart cities effort,” he said.
By becoming partners of the network, the City of Atlanta, GSU and GaTech are committing to collaboration focused on smart solutions to challenges, not only in Atlanta, but throughout the cities that have partnered in the MetroLab Network.
Participation in the MetroLab Network will require city/university partners to develop a memorandum of understanding between home metro partners, designate representatives responsible for maintaining the collaboration with the MetroLab Network and host research, development and deployment projects.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has provided $1 million in support of the start of the MetroLab Network. MacArthur’s grant is one of a small number of investments by the foundation in efforts to use data and information technologies to better understand how cities work and to improve the urban condition.
The first actions the network will undertake include organizing a series of workshops among founding members to determine the parameters of network collaboration and appointing an executive director to manage the affairs of the network.
More information on the MetroLab Network and its founding partners can be found at metrolabnetwork.org.