UCSD and San Diego Join MetroLab Network

In an effort to solve urban parking and traffic challenges, UCSD and the City of San Diego announced their participation in the White House’s Smart Cities Initiative and their plan to join the MetroLab Network on Sept. 14, 2015. 

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer believes that this opportunity will yield great results for the city.

“San Diego leads in research and innovation, and this will capitalize on UC San Diego’s academic resources to create real-world solutions that improve the lives of city residents,” Faulconer told UCSD News Center. “The MetroLab Network is a great opportunity to increase collaboration between the educational and civic worlds, and I’m excited to see the results.”

The the Network’s strategy is to increase partnerships between universities and their respective cities in order to research, develop and utilize new technologies and solve major challenges facing the cities.

UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla stated that university officials are optimistic about this opportunity.  

“We look forward to working with the mayor and local communities to tackle our common challenges and improve city services,” Khosla said in a press release. “At UC San Diego, we are committed to advancing knowledge and creating new technology for the benefit of our society.”

UCSD Vice Chancellor for Research Sandra A. Brown said that both cities and universities would benefit from this initiative. 

“Our public university’s mission includes service to our community,” Brown said in the press release. “The MetroLab Network arising from the White House’s Smart Cities Initiative gives both partners the opportunity to solve mutual problems.”

In addition to the partnership between the City of San Diego and UCSD, there are partnerships between 20 more cities and 25 universities that will serve as the founding members of the MetroLab Network. The goals of the Network include establishing and organizing a series of workshops between the founding partners, as well as appointing an executive director to manage the Network.

Funding for this project is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

MacArthur Foundation’s Program Officer Alaina Harkness told UCSD News Center that she hopes the partnerships formed in this Network will boost the cities’ connectivity and functionality. 

The MetroLab Network will catalyze research, development and demonstration projects that will benefit urban residents, environments and communities,” Harkness said. “Working together, the Network partners will pool knowledge, share resources and boost their collective ability to make cities work better.”