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About the Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center

The main goal of the UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center (SSCRC) is to foster cross-disciplinary research, training, and outreach that integrates health, socio-economic impacts, and infrastructure design for the purpose of developing innovative solutions within emerging sustainable smart cities and communities. Specifically, the Center brings together multidisciplinary faculty with diverse expertise—green construction materials; sustainable building and design concepts; social impacts of technology; modeling and simulation; medical sociology, health informatics, and social psychology; public health, emergency preparedness and response, and community resiliency; and government and public policy—to develop tools and methods for sustainable infrastructure design.

The SSCRC was established to serve as an enabling platform to become an agent of change in public policy and to shift the paradigm of urban infrastructure to one that is economically affluent, environmentally responsible, and socially equitable.


people in city

More than half of the world’s population resides within an urban environment. The challenges presented by co-locating large populations, industry, and aging infrastructure can be numerous and significant. Cities are responsible for the consumption of approximately 75% of all energy, 60% of all water demands, and produce 80% of all greenhouse gases worldwide. Cities are the engines of growth, but also generate environmental pollution and consume scarce natural resources. In addition, metropolitan areas also exhibit some of the most serious social inequities.

As the world’s population continues to urbanize, metropolitan areas will increasingly be the focal point of environmental protection, social justice, energy conservation, and greenhouse gas reduction policies. To face the challenges arising from urbanization, we need sustainable smart cities with significantly improved infrastructure that makes them environmentally friendly, increases their residents’ quality of life, and cuts costs all at the same time.

A sustainable urban area is characterized by the preservation of natural environment, use of renewable or highly efficient energy resources, home to a healthy population with access to public services, and the presence of economic vitality, social equity, and engaged citizenry. Such a vision can be achieved with an integrated approach that includes environmental management; counter-sprawl measures; linkages between community, ecology, and economy; and coordinated stakeholder interaction.