Sustainability experts to consider ways to revitalize metro area

Speakers at the third annual Sustainable Smart Cities Symposium will address needs specific to Birmingham’s growth.

birmingham bigThe Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is bringing in experts from around the world for the third annual Sustainable Smart Cities Symposium on June 12. The event, free and open to the public, will focus on lessons learned in sustainability and innovative solutions to make Birmingham a smarter and more livable city.

The UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Symposium is an annual forum designed to keep stakeholders in the Birmingham community — and scientists at UAB and other academics across the region — at the forefront of urban sustainability and development. The symposium works with other programs at UAB and partner institutions, including the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration and the National Center for Transportation Systems Productivity and Management, to encourage investigators to advance the science of cities.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell will introduce this year’s program, which will address a number of sustainability-centered topics, including economic development, energy conservation and innovation, smart sensors and technologies, and green architecture and construction, plus the health and livability of cities.

“We are fortunate to live in a city that is striving for change that will help stabilize neighborhoods and lead to sustainable growth for decades to come,” said Fouad H. Fouad, Ph.D., director of the UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center and chair of the Department of Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering. “UAB is committed to playing an important role in our city’s growth by offering events such as this symposium. It will help city leaders learn from each other and experts from around the world who have experience building and sustaining a healthy city.”

“UAB is committed to playing an important role in our city’s growth by offering events such as this symposium. It will help city leaders learn from each other and experts from around the world who have experience building and sustaining a healthy city.”

The event, which aims to find sustainable ways to revitalize cities worldwide, will feature speakers from the local area and other U.S. cities and international locations to share ideas that will be geared toward improving Birmingham and other cities in the region.

In her keynote address, Barbara McCann, director of the Office of Safety, Energy & Environment for the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, will examine “Complete Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks.”

Other discussion topics and featured speakers include:

Urban Revitalization

  • John Adlen, director of the Office of Sustainability at Staffordshire University in the United Kingdom, “Sustainable Smart Cities: What’s Happening in Europe”
  • Irene Rojo de las Heras, architect with Spain-based Luis Vidal + Architects, “Smart Urban Planning, Smart Buildings, Smart Objects”
  • Joseph Schilling, J.D., director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, “Reversing Shrinking Cities, Population Decline and Urban Vacancy”

Smart Technologies

  • Eduardo Behrentz, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering at Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, “Sustainable Urban Mobility”
  • Michelle Cullen, Smarter Cities specialist for IBM, “Social and Ethical Implications of Smart City Solutions”
  • Jennifer Dunnam, senior interaction designer with Frog Design in New York City, “Synchronized Cities: Leveraging Sensors to Optimize Urban Activity”
  • Horacio Werner, Ph.D., senior director of the Office of Strategy and Business Development, Emerging Countries and Internet of Everything for Cisco Systems, “The Internet of Everything: Connecting People, Process, Data, and Things”

Transportation and Economic Development (Panel Discussion)

  • Panel moderator: Eric Jack, Ph.D., dean of the UAB Collat School of Business    
  • Charles Ball, executive director for the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham
  • Henry Ikwut-Ukwa, Ph.D., manager of planning and development for the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority
  • Barbara McCann, director of the Office of Safety, Energy and Environment, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Bill Taylor, president of the Economic Partnership of Alabama

Additionally, Fouad will discuss opportunities at UAB SSC, along with Bell and UAB Provost Linda Lucas, Ph.D., in the opening addresses for the event.

The event will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel Birmingham at 808 20th Street South. Registration and additional information are online at www.uab.edu/smartcities.

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