The first in a two-year series of working seminars and meetings that will explore the broad space of ‘smart cities’ has been planned for November 7. This broad topic includes issues as varied as designing livable spaces, considerations of urban life and work, the importance of sustainability, the roles of information and digital technologies, the ways in which municipalities work together and with residents, the nature of community, and the ways in which Syracuse—as a city and a region—reflects the issues and opportunities of vibrant communities.

This series of community-building seminars is organized by a faculty working group with representatives from Syracuse University’s School of Architecture, the Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Design in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the School of Information Studies (iSchool). A faculty member from SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry is also on the working group.

Designed to raise awareness of the many overlapping interests involved in the notion of a ‘smart’ community, the first seminar, titled Perspectives and Possibilities, will be organized in a workshop style, where participants will be formed into small groups to share interests, explore ideas, and imagine future projects.

The ultimate goal of the event is to foster collaboration and cooperation among like-minded individuals on campus by providing space for people to identify topics of interest, find people to work and research with, and share out information about ongoing projects and efforts.

Students, faculty members, and staff are all encouraged to attend.

“You are welcome regardless of whether you have an ongoing project about smart cities or if you are just learning about and exploring the concepts, issues, and possibilities of the topic,” said iSchool faculty member and working group representative Steve Sawyer. “We ask only that you come with ideas and a willingness to listen and learn.”

Additional topics for discussion will include plans for the next several seminars, which will showcase student projects and update participants on ongoing projects and possibilities for new projects in the greater Syracuse region; and the development of online resources to support this growing community.

“We welcome all comments and participation as we work to build the ties and connections among scholars, students, and professionals engaged in smart city development now and in the future,” said Sawyer.

The first seminar on Wednesday, November 7, will be held from 4 – 5:30 p.m. in the Killian Room in the Hall of Languages. For more information, contact Steve Sawyer at