Event Explores Creating Inclusive, Smart and Healthy Cities

Leaders and panelists from academia, science, entrepreneurship, architecture, urban planning, engineering and city government recently converged at Jefferson.
Richard Florida speaks at the podium
Dr. Richard Florida, recipient of the inaugural Philadelphia Fellowship, discussed today’s urban challenges.

The interrelationships of urbanization, technological innovation, demographic trends and population health fused at the Philadelphia Fellowship on Inclusion and Equity Symposium and Smart and Healthy Cities Forum.

“Smart cities are a new paradigm in the development of urban areas with the focus on using technological advances to operate and enhance the wide range of city services, from ensuring adequate electricity to solid-waste management, as well as providing widespread mobility and connectivity for residents,” says Barbara Klinkhammer, executive dean of the College of Architecture and the Built Environment, who presented at the Forum.

Leaders and panelists from academia, science, entrepreneurship, architecture, urban planning, engineering and city government recently converged at Jefferson for the inaugural two-day event.

Sessions during the Forum on Jefferson’s East Falls Campus focused on understanding the impact of smart cities through policies, economics, big data environment and population; and driving change with population health, technological innovation, constructing buildings and entrepreneurs.

At the Symposium on the Center City Campus, renowned urbanist Dr. Richard Florida, delivered the keynote, “The Case for Inclusive Prosperity in Philadelphia.” He covered today’s urban challenges, which require a new strategy centered on inclusive prosperity. A distinguished scholar known for his groundbreaking research on urban demographic changes, Dr. Florida received the inaugural Philadelphia Fellowship—a collaborative program initiated by Jefferson, Drexel University and the University City Science Center.

“With the Fellowship, I want to help create a narrative that’s compelling about why inclusion and equity are not just the morally and ethically right thing to do, but that they’re also the economically competitive thing to do,” he says. “I’d also like to provide strategic direction of what the community can do. I believe this is less about local government, as most people think, but more about public-private partnerships and what we can do better and collectively to drive more inclusive development.”

Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Jefferson, says this important event demonstrates the synergy developed by the merger of Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University and shows the potential of uniting complementary professional areas of expertise.

“This is exactly what we dreamed of,” says Dr. Tykocinski, the Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

The University’s proposed Institute for Smart and Healthy Cities will support research and education, focusing on transforming urban environments into smart and healthy cities through learning, teaching, research, community and industry engagement. The effort is being led by Klinkhammer and Jefferson architecture professor Edgar Stach.

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