Researchers working within the Urban Innovation Initiative study and build technology to help shape the future of urban environments. Expertise in design, hardware and software prototyping and deployment, and data analytics, is combined to target three application areas: climate change and related environmental effects on society; productivity and the economic health of cities; social equity and the health of people and their communities.
With more than 2 billion additional urban residents projected by 2050, humanity is rapidly becoming increasingly densely populated. Simultaneously, through the internet, mobile devices, and sensors and wearables, data and technology play an increasingly important and complex role in nearly every aspect of modern urban life, influencing communication, privacy and information exposure, mobility and transportation, environmental impact, economic equality and opportunity, and even the food we eat. With backgrounds in computer science, ethnography, social sciences, engineering, biology, chemistry, and design, researchers in the Urban Innovation Group thus bring a multidisciplinary approach to leverage these trends to understand sociotechnical systems in urban environments and help build the future of technology in the service of society.
The Urban Innovation Initiative makes its research available through scholarly publication, through open source software and datasets, and through collaborations with universities, and with business and product teams at Microsoft.