The University of Colorado Boulder and the city of Boulder together have joined the MetroLab Network, a nationwide collection of 35 city-university partnerships focused on bringing data, analytics and innovation to local government.
Through the partnership, organized by CU-Boulder’s Community Engagement Design and Research Center (CEDaR) and Boulder’s Planning, Housing + Sustainability Department, the city will collaborate with students and faculty from multiple disciplines to research, develop and deploy technologies and policy approaches to address common challenges among urban areas.
As part of the Boulder-CU-Boulder partnership, the university will serve as a research and development arm while the city will serve as a test bed for technologies and policies.
“This collaboration will build on the cutting-edge leadership and practical expertise that both the university and the city have to offer,” said CU-Boulder Provost Russell L. Moore. “In addition, students will benefit from real-world experience that will be provided through the partnership.”
Areas of potential collaboration, in which specific projects and initiatives are yet to be defined, include sustainable urban design, green infrastructure, data-driven “smart city” technologies, energy, community engagement and housing affordability.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the city to strengthen its partnership with our colleagues at CU-Boulder,” said City of Boulder Executive Director for Planning, Housing + Sustainability David Driskell. “Through this collaboration, we will accelerate our work on effective responses to the challenges we face here in Boulder and other communities across the country.”
CU-Boulder also has formed a MetroLab Network partnership with the city of Denver to work on water issues, modeling and analyses.
Both partnerships were formed through the cities and CEDaR – directed by Brian Muller, associate professor of environmental design – with support from CU-Boulder’s Environmental Design Program, CU Engage, the Office of Outreach and Engagement, the ATLAS Institute and other university entities.
Representatives from Boulder and CU-Boulder will participate in the MetroLab Network Spring Summit to be held May 9-11 in California.
The MetroLab Network was launched in September of 2015 by 21 founding city-university pairings as part of the Obama Administration’s Smart Cities Initiative. It is supported by a $1 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as a research enterprise that uses data and information technologies to better understand how cities work and to improve the urban condition. Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the fiduciary of MetroLab Network during its incubation period.