The goal of the Metropolitan Institute Industrial Affiliates Program (IAP) is to build collaborative partnerships to support the mutual needs of business, industry, and academia.
Our program provides a means for industry to contribute to and sustain research at the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. Industrial affiliate partnerships facilitate applied research by faculty and support knowledge exchange related to policy informatics, resiliency, distressed cities and renewal, and smart cities. The IAP offers many benefits to both our industry partners and the university. The MI IAP is an opportunity for industry partners to influence research in directions that maximize benefits to their companies. By identifying needs for applied knowledge that is not being addressed through traditional mechanisms, industry partners can help shape MI research projects. In addition, to structuring research projects, IAP members get access to graduate students who can work on projects, faculty who are experts in their domains, and professional networks that span industry, government, and academic sphere both domestically and internationally.
The Metropolitan Institute is currently seeking interns for two programs – Policy Informatics and Sustainability. Internships with the Metropolitan Institute provide opportunities to contribute meaningfully to the research enterprise at Virginia Tech. Interns can contribute to research projects, assist in media outreach such as blogging, and work with out team to organize events and roundtables.
Undergraduate students (especially juniors and seniors) and graduate students majoring in public policy, urban planning, public administration, information systems, and management, or related fields are encouraged to apply.
The Metropolitan Institute has an immediate opening for graduate students to work a minimum of 10 and up to 30 hours per week as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) for the summer of 2012 (May 16 to August 15). These positions will report to the Director, and/or, the Associate Director of the Metropolitan Institute and will work on a number of ongoing projects within the center. Tasks will include writing research briefs and case studies, doing outreach and communications such as updating research blogs, assisting with the preparation of grants, and general support on research projects.
Q. What are your main research projects at the present time?
My research interests currently fall into three broad areas that are linked by the theme of sustainability. The first and broadest area relates to identifying ways to transform industrial and emerging economies towards sustainable development. Over the past ten years I have been working with Prof. Nicholas Ashford (at MIT) on a textbook that explores the many dimensions of sustainable development and how national, multinational, and international political and legal mechanisms can be used to further sustainable development. In 2011, we published the textbook – Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development: Transforming the Industrial State (Yale University Press) – and have since been working on articles to further extend this work. I would describe this research area as transdisciplinary, which means that the problems being addressed require solutions that can originate from any discipline. This first research area builds the broad foundation for my other two research interests.
My second research area focuses on sustainable transportation and continues the research I began with my PhD at MIT. I research decision-support frameworks that transportation agencies and practitioners can use to transition their transportation systems towards sustainability. This research also has broader applicability to other sectors of the economy and I hope to expand it into energy systems, agriculture, etc. My most recent work in this area relates to the design of performance measurement frameworks for transportation agencies. In 2011, I was an adviser to a research project that created A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies. This guidebook was informed by best-practice case studies and practitioner interviews and has inspired a second book that I am working on with Dr. Henrik Gudmundsson (Technical University of Denmark), Dr. Greg Marsden (University of Leeds), and Dr. Josias Zietsman (Texas A&M University). This book will provide students and practitioners with a deep understanding of the basic concepts of sustainability as well as a coherent framework for how to apply them consistently in the context of transportation planning, management, and decision making at different levels of an agency. The purpose of the textbook is to outline an approach for measuring the performance of transportation systems against key sustainability principles.
My final research area relates to sustainable water supply and sanitation systems in developing regions. This applied, empirical research began during my postdoc at Stanford University and has since taken me to India, Colombia, Senegal, and Mozambique.
MI’s Director, Kevin Desouza, outlines five guidelines to consider for Leveraging the Wisdom of Crowds through Participatory Platforms was published on Planetizen. The future of design and planning is certain to be around participatory platforms, designers and planners should embrace these platforms and leverage their potential towards designing smart(er) cities through open, inclusive, and collaborative approaches. Planners need to learn how to orchestrate participation on these platforms so as to arrive at plans that are representative of community needs and within scope, budget, and resource constraints. Failure to achieve this will result in plans that fall prey to the foolishness or the rowdiness of crowds. I outline five simple guidelines to consider. To read more, click here - LINK
Faculty Fellow, Ralph Buehler, presented at the APA’s Tuesday evening speaker series on travel behavior, transport policy and sustainable transport differences and similarities between Germany and the US. This presentation reviewed daily travel behavior in the two countries and examined the policies in Germany that have encouraged more walking, bicycling, and public transport use.
The complete audio presentation is available streaming on the APA site.