September 14, 2015, PHILADELPHIA, PA—The University of Pennsylvania will partner with the City of Philadelphia as part of the White House’s new Metro Lab Network, which aims to improve urban infrastructure and foster equitable development in cities. The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR), under the leadership of Co-Directors Susan Wachter and Genie Birch, will lead the University’s involvement in the project.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Mayor Nutter and the City of Philadelphia to identify and implement real-world solutions to some of our city’s biggest challenges,” said Penn IUR Co-Director Susan Wachter. “Research universities have the physical and human resources to help their cities meet complex urban challenges through undertaking research, development, and deployment of innovative projects at lower cost.”
The Metro Lab Network, launched on September 14, 2015 at the White House Smart Cities Forum, aims to improve American cities by creating university-city partnerships committed to improving urban infrastructure, city services, and public sector priorities. The Network will bring together university researchers with city decision makers to research, develop, and deploy new technology in the provision of city services.
“We are proud to be a founding member of the Metro Lab Network, and look forward to working with the other cities and universities that are committing to deeper collaboration around Smart Cities solutions,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. “We are already engaged in a number of projects with Philadelphia’s excellent universities, and we are eager to see how these projects can continue to improve the quality of life in Philadelphia.”
As part of the Metro Lab Network, the City of Philadelphia and Penn will collaborate on three major projects that incorporate technology and analytics for improving infrastructure and city services, as well as fostering equitable development. In conjunction with city partners, Penn will collaborate to use technology to measure the impacts of new infrastructure, including green infrastructure, on neighborhood values. The three major projects will then use this new technology to address blight reduction, land banking strategy, and local economic development, and will involve partnering with the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the Philadelphia Land Bank, and the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity.
The Metro Lab Network is a project organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and will be managed by a Management Team, initially led by Carnegie Mellon University.