Symposium: Are we moving towards Smart, Inclusive and Sustainable Cities?

Knowlton Hall
March 27, 2019 - 4:30pm to March 29, 2019 - 2:00pm

The City and Regional Planning program at The Ohio State University celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2018-19. Over its 60 years, the program has had a significant impact on student development, local and global communities, and the planning field at large.

About the symposium

The City and Regional Planning faculty at the Ohio State University invite scholars to reflect on and address society’s emerging planning questions, disruptions and challenges during our March 2019 “Planniversary” Symposium. We will harness the tradition of forward-thinking research and teaching at Ohio State with a thematic focus on: “Are we moving toward Smart, Inclusive, and Sustainable Cities? Examining the relationship between scholarship and practice in planning.” We will welcome 9 scholars to present their research at three paper sessions. In addition, attendees will have opportunities to see the Banvard Gallery, engage with several invited keynote speakers, and learn more about SmartColumbus initiatives.

We invited scholars to submit abstracts that advance the conversation on “smart” initiatives across the world. During the symposium, we hope to contextualize “smart” initiatives through the lens of social inclusion and sustainability. We invited submissions from those who both advance and critically examine the notion that “smart” initiatives are sufficient or necessary to achieve inclusion or sustainability goals. Participants are encouraged to examine case studies involving practitioner or community efforts, propose relevant theoretical and historical narratives, advance urban design, and /or conduct data and modeling analysis. Regardless of methodological preference, we sought submissions that push the academy to consider the ways in which planning academics are responding to and informing the role of technology across the broader planning discipline. Ultimately, do we understand relationships between socio-technical systems and urban outcomes in this era of digital engagement? 

As we internally reflect on 60 years of achievements at Ohio State, we are also appraising our current scholarship in the context of today’s planning discipline. Notably, we celebrate a decade of building our active faculty into the most diverse representation of scholars as yet seen in our program. We look forward to diverse participation from our colleagues across the academy as we celebrate our past and position ourselves for continued excellence. 

Why have this conversation in Columbus, Ohio?

Cities around the world, including Columbus, have focused their branding and planning interventions around innovative technologies that promise to change the scale and manner in which urban users access resources. In June 2016, the US Department of Transportation announced Columbus as the winner of the Smart City Challenge. From the initial $40 million federal award, city leadership have parlayed that amount into $500 million in investment from the private sector and local partners. Since then, Columbus has deployed the first phase of self-driving shuttles on downtown streets and proposed plans to design transit kiosks that will allow transit-dependent mothers to communicate with their prenatal health care providers. As Columbus advances their deliverables to function as a living lab for smart mobility, Ohio State’s faculty are tasked with the challenge of keeping pace with this dynamic environment in their research, teaching, and broader community engagement. This, our thematic focus and central question is inspired by a need to better understand the role of technological change and innovation on today’s planning discipline.  


Additional details will be added as they become available.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 // begins at 5:30 p.m.
Knowlton Hall, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

   5:30 p.m. | Opening Lecture by Prof. Rachel Weber, PhD, University of Illinois, Chicago
   6:30 p.m. | Reception and The City Remembers Banvard Gallery Exhibition

Thursday, March 28, 2019 // begins at 9:00 a.m.
STEAM Factory, 400 West Rich St, Second Floor, Columbus, Ohio

   9:00 a.m. | Registration
   9:30 a.m. | Paper Session I: Who Governs Smart Cities?
 11:30 a.m. | Lunch and Lecture: Prof. Karen Trapenburg Frick, PhD, University of California, Berkeley
 12:45 p.m. | Paper Session II: Collaboration and Open Data
   2:45 p.m. | Coffee Break
   3:00 p.m. | Practitioner Panel
   5:15 p.m. | Happy Hour

Friday, March 29, 2019 // begins at 9:00 a.m.
Knowlton Hall, The Ohio State University, Columbus Campus

   9:00 a.m. | Light Breakfast Reception
   9:30 a.m. | Paper Session III: Economies and the Smart City
 11:30 a.m. | Lunch
 12:30 p.m. | Closing lecture: David Dixon, FAIA, VP of Planning and Urban Design, Stantec, Inc.

Dowload the full schedule in the footer.


The symposium is free to attend, but registration is required for days 2 and 3. Availability is limited and is first come, first served. Day 1 events are open to the public and do not require registration, as is the David Dixon lecture on Day 3.

Registration for Day 2 is now closed. Registration is still available for Day 3.


The symposium is sponsored in part by Science and Technology Studies at The Ohio State University (STS@OSU) and supported by The STEAM Factory.