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District Government, Georgetown, GWU and Howard Join Forces for Historic Smart Cities Partnership

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Effort part of a $160 million Smart Cities White House initiative

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia, Georgetown University, The George Washington University, and Howard University have partnered to participate in the newly created MetroLab Network, part of a $160 million Smart Cities initiative announced last week by President Barack Obama.

The Network, announced at the White House Smart Cities Forum, seeks to strengthen and create partnerships between metro areas and their respective universities to research, develop, and deploy innovative technologies to address challenges facing the nation’s urban areas.

“We’re honored to be the home to these prestigious universities and know this partnership further strengthens our shared goal of solving some of District’s biggest challenges,” said Michael Rupert, spokesman for the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO). “The MetroLab Network is a great opportunity to increase collaboration between the educational and civic worlds, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results of this innovative program.”

The MetroLab Network will provide the opportunity to share successes, address challenges, and build shared platforms for experimentation and data between cities and universities necessary to increase the tangible results of new innovations.

“This initiative synergizes efforts across multiple campuses as well as other stakeholders to address the needs of Washington, DC,” said Grant Warner, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Howard University.  “Howard University looks forward to the engagement of its faculty and students in the smart cities initiative.”

The DC partnership will share their expertise with other metro areas via the network, which includes 21 cities and 25 universities working on 60 Smart City projects. The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) with the support of the Office of the City Administrator (OCA) will lead the District’s efforts.

“GW's participation in the MetroLab Network with D.C. builds on the strength of our regional collaborations with the District and local universities by fostering greater open innovation around city challenges and establishing a means for greater engagement on solving shared challenges nationally," said Brian Ensor, GWU Assistant Vice President, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, Division of Information Technology.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has generously provided $1 million in support of the launch of the MetroLab Network. MacArthur’s grant is one of a small number of investments by the Foundation in efforts to use data and information technologies to better understand how cities work and to improve the urban condition.

More information on the MetroLab Network and its founding partners can be found at

Michael Rupert, OCTO, (202) 724-5178