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Team of researchers led by UMD iSchool are engaging communities in Baltimore’s Smart City transformation


Findings from a new multi-university study underscored a lack of resources—not lack of resourcefulness—that prevent residents from accessing opportunity and benefiting from safe, healthy communities in West Baltimore. The research, which was presented last week to city officials, community stakeholders and academic partners is the result of a “smart cities” grant from the National Science Foundation to understand how cities like Baltimore can employ “smart city” technology—such as smart street lights and citywide wi-fi—strategically and equitably to promote quality of life for all residents, particularly those in traditionally disadvantaged communities.

The multidisciplinary effort was led by the National Center for Smart Growth and the iSchool at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), along with colleagues from University of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, and Morgan State University.

Director of the UMD’s National Center for Smart Growth Gerrit Knaap and iSchool Assistant Professor Vanessa Frias-Martinez, the project’s principal investigators, hope their research offers a glimpse of the barriers, concerns and hopes of Baltimore residents, and will help guide smart city design and development in disadvantaged communities. City officials say that the team’s recommendations will be implemented within months as part of Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh’s vision for Moving Baltimore Forward, an initiative to improve the quality of life of city communities.

Click here for more on this story on the UMD iSchool website.