Ila Berman, Dean and Edward E. Elson Professor, UVA School of Architecture


Karen Rheuban, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Karen Rheuban Center for Telemedicine, UVA School of Medicine

Donna Chen, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UVA School of Engineering

Qian Cai, Director of the Center for Demographic Research, UVA


Mona El Khafif, Associate Professor, UVA School of Architecture

Led  by principal investigator, Dean Ila Berman, the National Science  Foundation awarded UVA a grant of $495,280.00 for the project, Polycentric Development Toward the Vision of 21st Century Main Street in Virginia.  This grant was awarded under The Smart and Connected Communities (SCC)  program which supports strongly interdisciplinary, integrative research  that will improve understanding of smart and connected communities and  lead to discoveries that enable sustainable change to enhance community  functioning. This award will support the development of a Research  Coordination Network led by UVA with 14 partner organizations. 

Excerpt from Project Abstract:

Cities and communities in the U.S. and around the world are entering a  new era of transformational change, in which their inhabitants and the  surrounding built and natural environments are increasingly connected by  smart technologies, leading to new opportunities for innovation,  improved services, and enhanced quality of life. This project is a  Research Coordination Network (RCN) that focuses on achieving SCC for  medium/small size, remote, and rural communities through a polycentric  (multiple centers) integrated policy, design, and technology approach.  The communities served by the RCN have higher barriers to information,  resources, and services than larger urban communities. To reduce this  gap, the principal investigators propose to develop need-based R&D  pipelines to select solutions with the highest potential impacts to the  communities. Instead of trying to connect under-connected communities to  nearby large cities, this proposal aims to develop economic  opportunities within the communities themselves.

This award will support the development of an RCN within the  Commonwealth of Virginia which will coordinate multiple partners in  developing innovations utilizing smart and connected technologies. The  research coordination network will be led by the University of Virginia.  There are 14 partner organizations including six research center  partners in transportation, environment, architecture and urban  planning, and engineering and technology; two State and Industry  partners (Virginia Municipal League and Virginia Center for Innovative  Technology); four community partners representing health services (UVA  Center for Telemedicine), small and remote communities (Weldon Cooper  Center), neighborhood communities (Charlottesville Neighborhood  Development), and urban communities (Thriving Cities); and two national  partners which support high speed networking (US-Ignite) and  city-university hubs (MetroLab).