The committee, comprised of distinguished city and university officials, will help to guide activity across the network of more than 30 city-university members.

Image via flickr/Randall Pugh. Image via flickr/Randall Pugh.


Bill Fulton, director of Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research, will join the steering committee of the MetroLab Network, a consortium of city-university partnerships focused on bringing data, analytics and innovation to city government.

Nine city and university officials from MetroLab Network’s membership were recently appointed to its Executive Steering Committee. In this role, they will help guide the activities of the network. The Executive Steering Committee will inform the network’s strategic direction and identify opportunities for the scaling of technology and data-oriented solutions to challenges facing cities and regions.

"MetroLab Network is a tremendously exciting opportunity for both the Kinder Institute and the City of Houston," Fulton said. "Being part of the network nationwide will allow us to learn from other cities and universities and also position Rice's Kinder Institute as one of the leading urban research institutes in the nation."

The Kinder Institute has been working for a year with the City of Houston's Performance Improvement Division on joint research projects driven by the MetroLab effort.

"The Executive Steering Committee is a reflection of the need to build multi-disciplinary teams to address the complexities that cities face," said MetroLab Network Interim Director Ben Levine. "It includes a former Mayor now serving in academia, leading academics studying and implementing solutions in cities, and innovators in city government."

Members of the Executive Steering Committee will work closely with Martin J. O’Malley, Senior Fellow at MetroLab Network, who previously served as the governor of Maryland and mayor of Baltimore.

“This group will help shape the next wave of innovation in our cities,” said Gov. O’Malley. “They will set an example for the types of collaborative efforts critical to addressing the challenges facing our metropolitan areas.”

Launched in September 2015 as part of the White House Smart Cities initiative, MetroLab Network is a national network of more than 30 city-university (and county-university) partnerships. Its cities and universities are developing technologies and policy approaches that address challenges facing urban areas including: inequality in income, health, mobility, security and opportunity; aging infrastructure; and environmental sustainability and resiliency. University partners serve as research and development arms while city government partners serve as testbeds to deploy solutions. Its initial efforts will focus on four areas: traffic management, water and green infrastructure, urban sensing, and data and social services.

Members of the MetroLab Executive Steering Committee include:

  • Lisa Camp, Case Western Reserve University, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the School of Engineering
  • Charlie Catlett, University of Chicago, Argonne National Lab, Director of the Urban Center for Computation & Data
  • Jen Duthie, University of Texas, Austin, Director of Network Modeling Center
  • Bill Fulton, Rice University, Director of the Kinder Institute
  • Santiago Garces, City of South Bend, Chief Innovation Officer
  • Nigel Jacob, City of Boston, Co-Founder, Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics
  • Debra Lam, City of Pittsburgh, Chief Innovation and Performance Officer
  • Michael Mattmiller, City of Seattle, Chief Technology Officer
  • Charles Ramdatt, City of Orlando, Deputy Public Works Director

MetroLab Network is supported by a $1 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the fiduciary of MetroLab Network. Rick Stafford, of Carnegie Mellon, will serve as an ex-officio member of the Executive Steering Committee. Full bios of all the steering committee members can be found on the MetroLab Network website.