Birmingham continues to gain positive national recognition on a number of fronts.  We are seen as a city moving in the right direction and at the forefront of urban sustainability and development.  UAB is at the very heart of our city center’s changing landscape as not only the metro’s largest employer, but also the largest stakeholder in the city’s growth.

UAB further enhanced our city’s growing reputation by hosting the third annual Sustainable Smart Cities Symposium on June 12.   Experts from around the world shared ideas during the free conference at the Doubletree Hotel which focused on lessons learned in sustainability and innovative solutions to make Birmingham and other cities in the region smarter and more livable.

UAB’s Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center is an enabling platform for interdisciplinary collaboration to understand and transform the impact of urbanization at the scientific, economic, and human levels. The Center offers training, research and outreach programs designed to maximize the potential of cities as engines of economic prosperity, intellectual development and human wellbeing. Central to the Center’s  mission is the education and empowerment of citizens with the knowledge needed to transform the livability of their environment and improve the health of their communities.

This annual 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 introduced this year’s program, which addressed 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.”

The symposium’s keynote address was delivered by Barbara McCann, director of the Office of Safety, Energy & Environment for the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in which she examined “The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks.”

Click here to see discussion topics and featured speakers.

A panel discussion moderated by UAB Collat Business School dean Eric Jack on transportation and economic development included McCann, Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham executive director Charles Ball, Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority manger of planning and development Henry Ikwut-Ukwa and Bill Taylor, president of the Economic Partnership of Alabama.

This outstanding event reminds us once again how fortunate we are to have an institution like UAB helping lead Birmingham back to national prominence.