- Carnegie Mellon University’s smart cities initiative Metro21 was elevated to an institute, now known as the Metro21: Smart Cities Institute, during a one-day conference last week at the Pittsburgh university.
- The institute addresses issues including traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, road infrastructure, energy efficiency, law enforcement, healthcare, fire prevention and air and water quality. It was originally founded as a university initiative in 2014.
- The conference included remarks from university and local officials and three panel discussions, including one on how public-private partnerships can help investment in smart cities and others featuring university faculty.
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has long been a partner with private companies and local governments on smart cities initiatives. "Thanks to our strengths at the nexus of technology and humanity, CMU is generating real-world solutions to the evolving needs of our cities — including enhancing the delivery of city services, increasing the resiliency of urban infrastructure, and encouraging greater access and inclusion," CMU Interim President Farnam Jahanian said in a statement.
In a press release announcing the conference and elevation, CMU officials said the new center and institute will “[position] it to leverage its resources and partnerships for greater impact.” Having a central physical location — the Pittsburgh Business Times reports it will be located at the university’s Hamburg Hall and involve almost every college — should help inspire even more collaboration, especially in such a centralized setting.
Universities and colleges are among the research leaders on smart city solutions, and already are collaborating on competitions in Georgia and in partnerships in Colorado. If smart cities are to take hold in the United States, it will be helpful to have academic institutions at the forefront and working well together internally to make progress. "Our problem-solving approach harnesses the expertise of researchers across the university to deploy technologies and models that can be utilized worldwide," James H. Garrett Jr., dean of the College of Engineering, said in a statement.