2018 Retrospective and the Year Ahead

Happy 2019, all! We’re officially a week into the new year, and we hope it’s off to a great start for you. Before we get too much further into 2019 we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the year that just ended, as well as consider the year ahead. Urbanism Next grew considerably in 2018, and we’re looking forward to continuing that growth in 2019 (and beyond!).

2018 Urbanism Next Conference (Photo by Sabrina Ortiz Luna)

For one thing, we held the 1st Annual Urbanism Next Conference in March 2018 and were thrilled to have over 500 attendees join us to discuss the secondary impacts of emerging technologies on cities. All of the plenary sessions are available to check out on our website, and you can also link to many of the presentations as well.

Last year we focused on how technology is changing cities. This year, we are excited to see how the conversation will evolve as we hone in on the ways that technological changes can be harnessed to achieve desired outcomes. Cities are engaging in innovative pilot projects, and there is a growing emphasis on public-private collaboration. Without a doubt, there is no shortage of topics to discuss since 2018 was a busy year—we saw the growth of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), the meteoric rise of e-scooters, the promises and pitfalls experienced by the AV industry, the continued expansion of e-commerce, and much, much more. We certainly hope you’ll join us in Portland May 7-9 for the 2nd Annual Urbanism Next Conference as we delve into these topics. Conference schedule and registration information will be available soon on our website.

Outside of the conference, the Urbanism Next/SCI team has also been working on a number of projects and reports. At the start of the year, SCI Co-Director Marc Schlossberg, along with William Riggs, Adam Millard-Ball, and Elizabeth Shay completed Rethinking Streets in an Era of Driverless Cars. In September, Nico Larco, Amanda Howell, Rebecca Lewis, and Becky Steckler completed the report AVs in the Pacific Northwest: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a Time of Automation. We were pleased to be able to collaborate with the cities of Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC on this work, funded by the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance/Urban Sustainability Directors Network via a grant provided by the Bullitt Foundation. We are currently working on the second phase of this project focused on New Mobility in the Right-of-Way with an emphasis on curb management. Look for that on our resources page later this spring!

National Science Foundation Planning Grant Workshop (Photo by Urbanism Next Staff)

We have also been hard at work on a National Science Foundation Planning Grant, which enabled us to convene a nationwide network of collaborators from the private, public, and academic sectors to better understand the secondary impacts of emerging technologies on cities. Drawing upon those conversations as well as an expansive literature review, we are drafting a report that builds out the Urbanism Next Framework. That will be finalized later this spring and we will be using it as the basis for an online resource we are developing to help cities, practitioners, and researchers learn about the latest thinking around these topics. Look for the launch later this year!

In addition, the team at Urbanism Next has been working on a National Institute for Transportation and Communities project with the Oregon cities of Gresham and Eugene to assess the risks and opportunities for land use, transportation, economic development, and city budget by the deployment of new mobility services including AVs. Our report and findings will be available later this year.

We are also incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to both attend and speak at multiple conferences, meetings, and engagements last year—a particular highlight included Nico’s talk at TEDx CollegePark in June 2018. Look for Program Director Becky Steckler’s TEDx McMinnville talk later this spring!

Looking ahead to 2019, we are excited to announce that Urbanism Next will be working with Cityfi on a 5-year project funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to work with the cities of Detroit, Pittsburgh, Miami, Long Beach, and San Jose to put people at the center of planning AV pilots.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank YOU for following and supporting our work here at Urbanism Next. We look forward to continuing to build community with you in 2019.

Additional Selected Publications by Urbanism Next/SCI Faculty in 2018

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