Jennifer Clark, the director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Urban Innovation, testified on Thursday, March 16, 2017, before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection. The hearing on Smart Communities was part of the Subcommittee’s Disrupter Series which examines ways that U.S. communities are using new technology to improve safety, increase efficiency, and create opportunity.
Clark was one of six witnesses selected from public and private sector entities, and the sole witness discussing the role of universities in shaping infrastructure development.
“In the smart communities context, research universities are serving an essential role in the research and development phase of smart communities innovation,” Clark said in prepared remarks.
“Research universities are built to test new technologies, evaluate alternatives, assess investments, evaluate economic impacts, measure distributional consequences, and certify processes, materials, products, and standards.”
“Universities also are embedded in local communities and often have long-term working relationships with local and state governments…and also have vested interest in the upgrading and maintenance of intelligent infrastructure in the cities and communities in which they are located.”
Clark noted some of the factors that hamper local governments in their efforts to innovate saying that “even the exemplar smart communities programs “are largely experiments with limited resources, limited timelines, and unclear scalability” and that “research universities have extensive experience partnering with industry and government on technology diffusion projects like smart communities.”
Jennifer Clark is an associate professor at the Ivan Allen College School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech. She is an expert in the field of regional economic development policy and the author of three books including her most recent, Working Regions: Reconnecting Innovation and Production in the Knowledge Economy (2013)
Watch the Full Hearing (Clark’s testimony begins at 43:40) and