Smart-city group MetroLab Network announced the creation Thursday of an advisory council that will help guide member cities in the pursuit of innovative technology projects.
Martin O’Malley — the former Maryland governor, Baltimore mayor and Democratic presidential candidate — will be chairman. The council will provide strategic advice as city and university members pursue technology projects oriented around data, transportation, energy, civic engagement and emerging technologies.
“Partnerships across sectors will drive urban innovation,” O’Malley said in a news release. “We are thrilled to have leaders from government, academia, industry, and non-profit helping guide our activity at MetroLab. Our city and university members will be well-served by their experiences, activities and insights.”
O’Malley commented in June during the Smart Cities Innovation Summit in Austin, Texas, that citizens of cities today are exhibiting higher levels of trust thanks to initiatives around the nation that take on issues of transparency and connectivity.
A white paper published by the group called City-University Partnerships for Urban Innovation outlines what an ideal relationship between a university and city looks like. In the MetroLab Network model, partnership provides a direct channel between universities that research and develop emerging technologies to cities that need more technical expertise than what their budgets alone permit.
As of publication, the network is comprised of 38 cities, 4 counties and 51 universities across 35 regional partnerships.
A partnership between Burlington, Vermont, and the University of Vermont, for instance, will identify metrics that can be used create a citywide urban planning initiative. The MetroLab Network project library contains dozens more case studies that showcase the work of its members.