The organization — formed to leverage more smart city technology and harness the potential of Internet of Things research being done in universities nationwide with the communities in which they are located — has been praised as a means of adding funding and connecting experts to help accelerate such efforts. Case in point: In September, the White House and several other federal agencies agreed to allocate $160 million to the development of these city/university partnerships.
The council will be chaired by Martin O’Malley, who also serves as senior fellow of the network, and was the 61st governor of Maryland and 47th mayor of Baltimore.
“Partnerships across sectors will drive urban innovation. We are thrilled to have leaders from government, academia, industry and nonprofit helping guide our activity at MetroLab," O’Malley said in a press release (PDF). “Our city and university members will be well served by their experiences, activities and insights.”
The MetroLab Network now includes nearly 40 partnerships between local governments, which dedicate their infrastructure as testing facilities, and their university partners, which act as the research and development arms of the program.
The Advisory Council members — who will help to facilitate the sharing of information and the scaling of technology of the separate projects in the network, and share expertise from their career in academia, private industry and local government — include:
- Jack Dangermond, CEO, Esri;
- Manny Diaz, 41st mayor of Miami and former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors;
- Richard Florida, director of the University of Toronto's Martin Prosperity Institute and senior editor of The Atlantic;
- Betty Sue Flowers, professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin and former director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum;
- Shirley Franklin, CEO of Purpose Built Communities and the 58th mayor of Atlanta;
- Rayid Ghani, director of the Center for Data Science and Public Policy at the University of Chicago;
- Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, former New York City deputy mayor for operations and the 46th mayor of Indianapolis;
- Marcia Hale, president of Building America's Future and former White House director of intergovernmental affairs;
- Joanne Harrell, senior director of U.S. Citizenship and Public Affairs for Microsoft and member of the University of Washington Board of Regents;
- Paul Hawken, executive director of Project Drawdown;
- Ben Hecht, president and CEO of Living Cities;
- Bruce Katz Centennial, scholar at the Brookings Institution;
- Melissa Mark-Viverito, speaker of the New York City Council;
- Tom Murphy, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute and 57th mayor of Pittsburgh;
- Leslie Richards, transportation secretary for Pennsylvania and former commissioner for Montgomery County, Pa.; and
- Tony Williams, executive director and CEO of the Federal City Council and fifth mayor of the District of Columbia.