On March 12th, a Dutch Delegation met with UT Austin researchers and professors to discuss developments in SMART cities, digital health, and value data provides cities. The Dutch delegation included guests from the Brainport International Programme and the City of Breda in the Netherlands. Johann Beelen is the Program Director of the Brainport International Programme, which is a new-style economic development agency, that works with representatives from industry, knowledge institutes and government to strengthen relationships between the Brainport Eindhoven region with Asian and American knowledge regions. Erwin van der Meer is the Senior Acquisitor with the City of Breda, Netherlands, focused on attracting new companies to the city and furthering economic development.
In attendance on the UT side was Eloisa Acha, Director of Research Relations at the Cockerell School of Engineering; Sherri Greenberg, Clinical Professor, Fellow, Max Sherman Chair in State and Local Government and Graduate Advisor MPAff.; Richard Peters, M.D., Dell Med’s Chief Technology Innovation Officer; Daniel Ach, Program Coordinator at the International Office; Ming Zhang, Professor and Hampton K. and Margaret Frye Snell Endowed Chair in Transportation at the School of Architecture and CM2 Director; Inessa Ach, CM2 Assistant Director for Administration; Junfeng Jiao, Assistant Professor and Hampton K. and Margaret Frye Snell Endowed Chair in Transportation at the School of Architecture and CM2 researcher; and Michelle Addington, Dean of the School of Architecture and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture.
The visit had multiple goals, including establishing strong collaborations between Eindhoven/Brainport and the Austin region, identifying overlaps and opportunities (city initiatives, industries, university programs, etc.) for both groups, and establishing a Sister City initiative based on the identified overlaps and opportunities. Professors Greenberg and Jiao have been collaborating on the multi-year UT Bridging Barriers Grand Challenge theme Good Systems that has the goal of developing interdisciplinary coursework on Smart Cities.
The two groups discussed several aspects of SMART cities and digital technology’s role in the city. The discussion of SMART Cities initiatives included all of the following: governance and procurement of innovation in public space, 5G living labs/showcases, conceptual models in area development, evaluation models of smart city applications, building initiatives, energy storage, and city farming. The discussion also touched on safety, including data policy / Internet of Things (IoT) rules, and how technology can be used for crowd control, public safety and security, especially related to large events and crowded places. Other topics of discussion included digital health as well as data value for cities (digital rights, data privacy, etc.).
The meeting between the two delegations was a great success. Both sides look forward to continued collaboration on SMART city initiatives and digital technologies that improve health and safety.