2017 Charlotte Agenda

The 2017 Conference in Charlotte NC will be held at:

UNC-Charlotte Main Campus
9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223
UNC-Charlotte Center City
2nd Floor, 320 E 9th St, Charlotte, NC 28202

The 2017 INSS annual conference will be hosted across multiple sites. The keynote speaker, cross-site synchronous activities, and the technology bridge & wall panel will be accessible online through all sites and remotely. Local events and activities may not be held across all sites.

Charlotte Program PDF

Monday June 5

All programming at UNC-Charlotte Center City Building

9AM-4PM     Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Symposium

6:00PM         Registration & Reception (Center City 2nd Floor Atrium)

6:30PM         Speaker, Laurenellen McCann, “Already Smart: Community Leadership in Civic Problem-Solving in Charlotte and Beyond” (Center City Auditorium)

Of the many promises the “smart city” offers, the most telling is that of “integration”. Integration, because fundamentally and historically, our governing systems are segregated based on power — and inextricably, identity. This is not, however, the kind of “integration” the smart city will deliver. Even with the language of “bottom-up” decision-making, “participatory” systems, and recent nods to “justice”, the smart city has no intention of addressing the real power disparities at the heart of challenges to sustainable urban development. If it did, its founding premise would not be to imply that what’s wrong with our cities is that they’re “dumb”, but that urban resources are distributed in a fundamentally unjust and inequitable manner. This oversight is replicated throughout technosolutionist movements, which often presume that the democratizing potential of technology, regardless of who produces that tech or benefits from it, will inevitably result in the benefit of “everyone”. Rather than new, innovative, or “smart”, this is a classic neoliberalist trickle down approach to government reform, one that should make us pause, and ask, just who are these reforms for?

This interactive session will grapple with these questions, as well as with the complicated dynamics of power and privilege in Charlotte, Washington, DC, and other US cities today. In addition to exploring the inherent neoliberalism of the “smart city”, we’ll explore the intelligence and creativity “smart city” and related. Frameworks obscure: the real “bottom-up innovations” developed by marginalized communities as part of resilience and self-governance under distant and at times oppressive governing systems. For this is where a real smart city would start: with real people — not the residents it would prefer to have, but the people already present. A real smart city would ask how to serve these people better, what these residents and community members bring to the table, and, meaningfully, what it looks like, and what would it take, to actually integrate them into decision-making processes.

Tuesday June 6

Programming from 9am-5pm at UNC-Charlotte Main Campus; Evening program at UNC-Charlotte Center City (transportation will be available)

(red denotes simulcast across all sites)

9:00AM        Registration, Poster and networking session with coffee and light breakfast (Atkins Halton Reading Room)

10:30AM      Formal welcome and site introductions (Atkins 143)

11:00AM      Keynote speaker Prof. David Ludlow: “Defining Smart City Governance – Architectures of Co-Creation and Integration” (Atkins 143)

The dynamic of social and technological innovation is defining a new smart city governance, responding to the complex challenges of urban planning and simultaneously disrupting the governance model in fundamental ways. The background to this concerns effective integrated urban governance, that has proved to be a major challenge, and indeed a challenge too great for expert resolution alone. Accordingly, top-down expertise has increasingly sought the assistance of all stakeholders in a coalition of open governance that strives to respond effectively to the societal challenges of our time. The question for urban governance is extended from concerns to create a more integrated management of the territory, which has dominated the governance agenda for a generation, to a new emphasis on the means by which more participatory engagement can be achieved.

In this new landscape of integrated and participatory, open and co-created urban governance, opportunities to harness innovative social and technology solutions, derived directly from bottom-up engagement in the community, are driving expectations of a more effective policy implementation supported by the new legitimacy of the stakeholder coalition and community political capital. The interplay of social and technological innovation has the potential to transform the governance of our cities, as citizens are demanding more active engagement in the planning of their communities and the visioning of the future city. Technological innovation is providing new means of community engagement facilitating participation in planning as well as creating the potentials for the definition and delivery of more integrated solutions. The presentation will offer some of insights into the experience of European research and innovation projects concerning these dynamics of smart city governance, that is driving forward the agenda defining a new architecture for smart city governance.

12:00PM       Lunch (Atkins Halton Reading Room)

1:00PM         Smart & Connected Charlotte Panel (Atkins 143)

This panel will discuss efforts in Charlotte to develop smart and connected communities with respect to people, institutions, governments, and other social actors. While the technological opportunities and challenges have been generating excitement for several years, our conference is a chance to ask questions about what we hope to gain and who will benefit. Our panel of local experts will help us understand the social dimensions of what “smart & connected” means in Charlotte. The moderated discussion will explore the social issues that Charlotte leaders are discussing, the kinds of projects being proposed, and the concerns that are being raised.


  • Rob Phocas, Energy & Sustainability Manager for the City of Charlotte
  • Emily Yates, Deputy Director for Envision Charlotte
  • Robert Wilhite, Managing Director Energy for Navigant

2-3:15PM      Cross-site shared activities: SESSION A. Select one to attend in person or join online.

Charlotte:  Educating for Engaged Sustainability (Atkins 143)
This panel will bring together UNCC and Charlotte area partners to talk about what they might expect from an engaged sustainability course or concentration at UNCC. Students are key for meeting sustainability challenges of the future. How we prepare these students will affect how these challenges are understood and met. The Integrated Network for Social Sustainability can play a key role in creating conversations and opportunities around a vision of an integrated, interdisciplinary, and engaged sustainability. In the 2017 conference, we move towards this vision through a focus on how we can design engaged sustainability educational programs that reach beyond disciplines, campuses, and the three pillars.


  • Dan Fogel, Ph.D., Former Director of the Sustainability Master Program at Wake Forest University and Immediate Past Chair of Charlotte Chamber of Commerce GreenWorks Council
  • Ming-Chun Lee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Architecture, UNCC. Lee stresses the use of digital technologies in urban design and planning processes and emphasizes the importance of integrating computers into every aspect of urban design and planning education. Prior to joining SoA at UNCC, he has had more than seven years teaching experiences in digital visualization, geographic information system (GIS), and web-based applications both at the University of Washington and at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Lee also conducts research in the areas of community technology, digital democracy, and issues around media policy and public access to information and communication technology (ICT). Dr. Lee received his Ph.D. in urban design and planning from the University of Washington in 2008.
  • Terry Lansdell, Program Director, Clean Air Carolina
  • Nicole Peterson, Professor of Anthropology, UNC Charlotte (Moderator)

Atlanta: Whose Data Is It Anyway?: Empowerment & Ownership of Community Research (Atkins G35)

Neighborhoods and communities of all types are often the subject of data monitoring and research by organizations such as police departments, public health agencies, and universities. Too often citizens and residents are not either aware of the information that is being collected about their lives, or they don’t adequately understand its implications and almost never are in control of the data that may impact their families and neighbors. Our panelists will discuss how Participatory Action Research, open systems data sharing, and quality community engagement can make a huge difference in whether a community is empowered or undermined by data.


  • Kwabena Nkromo, Founder & Lead Principal, Atlanta Food & Farm PBC (Moderator)
  • Tabia Henry Akintobi, MPH, Associate Professor/Associate Dean, Community Engagement, Director of Prevention Research Center, Director of Evaluation and Institutional Assessment, Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Christopher Le Dantec, Associate Professor of Digital Media, Georgia Tech
  • Terry Ross, Chairperson, Neighborhood Planning Unit T (NPU-T)
  • Jamie Wallace, Investigator, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office

Baltimore: Technology and Urban Sustainability (Atkins G34)
What has been learned at the global level and what needs to be learned at the local level to promote and enhance sustainability inclusive of all members of urban communities?  These panelists will identify initiatives and challenges for communities that wish to adopt and adapt smart technologies for this purpose.


  • Bill Kelly, Retired, American Society for Engineering Education
    Technology to Improve Sustainability in Cities: A Global Perspective
  • Tylis Cooper, Lecturer and Academic Coordinator, University of Baltimore How technology can address the maldistribution of resources:  A historical look at Baltimore’s infrastructure and how place matters with community and individual sustainability.

3:15PM-3:45PM Break

3:45PM-5PM Cross-site shared activities: SESSION B. Select one to attend in person or join online.

Atlanta: “Can Smart, Connected Communities Also Advance Equity? Three Perspectives from Research, Planning, and Design”

As we plan, design, engineer, and build smart and connected communities, equity is often overlooked— displaced by our focus on technology. But if we do not address equity from the beginning, we run the risk of exacerbating existing conditions of injustice. This panel will explore diverse approaches to addressing equity in research, planning, and design for smart and connected communities, to spark conversation on strategies and tactics appropriate for both public sector and academic projects.


  • Carl DiSalvo, Associate Professor, School of Literature, Media, and Communication/SLS Smart Cities, Connected Communities Fellow (Spring 2017), Georgia Tech
  • Cicely Garrett, Deputy Chief Resilience Officer, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Resilience
  • Jesse Woo, Research Associate in Privacy and Cybersecurity/SLS Smart Cities, Connected Communities Fellow (Spring 2017), Georgia Tech

Baltimore: Investing in Smart Cities to Improve the Lives of Low Income Residents

Can free access to the Internet, greater transit mobility, and smart cities technologies enhance access to opportunity and social mobility? This panel discussion will engage technology designers, low-income advocates, and public officials in a conversation about what smart cities investments would most improve the lives of low income residents in Baltimore.


  • Gerrit Knaap, National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) and Urban Studies and Planning, University of Maryland College Park
  • Kevin Kornegay, Morgan State University
  • Joe Carella, Vista Technology Partners, Inc.
  • Eli Knaap, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Andre Robinson, Mt. Royal Community Development Corporation

Lima: Three presentations listed below (Atkins TBD)


  • Simulation-Based Assessment of a Set of Management Measures for the Peruvian Communications Network in Case of Seismic Emergency in Lima City – David Chávez, D., Signals and Communications Theory Area Professor and Chairman; Director of the Rural Telecommunications Research Group; and Professor of Engineering at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
  • Seismic Retrofit of Concrete Bridges Using Isolation Devices Anibal Tafur
  • Challenges in managing the hydroclimatic risks in Peru – Ronald Gutierrez Ph.D., Associate Professor in Civil Engineering at PUCP

6:00PM         Bicycle Equity in the Queen City: A panel discussion (Center City Auditorium)

Riding a bicycle is a low-cost, low-carbon mode of transportation. Displacing cars on the road with bicycles can address multiple overlapping environmental, social, and economic challenges in cities. In countries that prioritize cycling as a mode of transportation, women and men cycle at about the same rate; Similarly, the elderly cycling as much or more than younger age cohorts. In most of the US, and certainly in Charlotte, a disproportionate number of cyclists are white, able-bodied, men.  What barriers to cycling do women, children, the elderly, and people of color face in Charlotte, NC? What policies and programs can help overcome these inequalities.  This panel will feature the following Charlotte-area cyclists working to expand cycling opportunities to a broader constituency:


  • Kate Cavazza is the Bike Program Manager at Sustain Charlotte.  She engages the community to grow the use of bicycles for transportation and works to support a connected network of protected bike lanes that will make it possible for residents of all ages and abilities to safely ride a bike to the places they need to go.
  • Caitlin Doolin is a senior transportation engineer at Kittelson & Associates. Prior to moving to Charlotte, she served as the Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator for Baltimore City where she managed the implementation of the first protected bike lane and the launch of Baltimore Bike Share.
  • Debra Franklin is League Cycling Instructor #5505.  She uses her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services, with an emphasis in juvenile delinquency, to encourage Careers, Transportation, and Health on Bicycles for people of color, women, senior adults, and foster children.
  • Bethanie Johnson has been a resident of Charlotte for 15 years, a TA at Park Road Montessori for 14 years, and a car-free human being for the past four years.  In addition, she teaches an Earn a Bike Class at Trips for Kids, and has co-founded a CLT Bike Camp with a friend that addresses both active transit and equitable communities.  She also started something called Bicycle Friday three years ago with a fellow TA at her school to address the need for movement and active transit choices for children.
  • Dick Winters is a Health Policy Coordinator with Mecklenburg County (NC) Public Health. He works with partners to make policy, systems and environmental changes to the Charlotte-area community that positively affect health outcomes. And he’s crazy about all things bicycling!

Wednesday June 7

Programming 10AM-1PM held at UNC-Charlotte Main Campus; transportation available to activity at 2PM in Charlotte North End

(red denotes simulcast across all sites)

10:00AM      Registration, Coffee, light breakfast, and presentations from interdisciplinary student symposium (Atkins 143)

11:00AM      Technology for Smart, Connected Communities: The Bridge and the Wall (Atkins 143)

The organization of Federal support for research and development in the United States fosters enthusiasm for technological innovation. Since these efforts require taxpayer support, the language promoting such innovation links it to positive social outcomes such as jobs, national defense, community benefits such as public and environmental health and safety, and better education. But public and private investments may not have positive or equitable results, and the potential for good results may depend as much or more on the societal contexts in which the innovations develop and are used than on the technical components that are part of the innovations.

Pathways towards the vision of smart and connected communities usually include a hope that enhanced technologies (for data collection, pattern recognition, communication, decision making, transportation and other tasks) will improve upon humans’ ability to perform these functions by overcoming persistent limitations. However, for these technologies, including artificial intelligence, to create pathways towards positive social outcomes, they must be imbedded in social processes and structures that promote those benefits. How do smart technologies extend human abilities, and what does this mean for social interactions, participation, adaptation, or responsiveness? This panel examines how smart technologies play out in social contexts in various domains, both in terms of successes and failures.

In order to better understand the promises and limitations of technology in building smart, connected communities, panelists will examine a variety of case studies.  Some will highlight successes applying innovative technologies to improving community function.  Others will reflect on failures. And still others will identify both positive and negative outcomes and implications.


  • Rachelle Hollander, Ph.D., Director, Center for Engineering, Ethics, and Society at the National Academy of Engineering. She is currently principal investigator on a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project to enhance the OEC and also leads CEES participation in the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS). For many years Dr. Hollander directed science and engineering ethics activities at NSF where she was instrumental in the development of the fields of research ethics and professional responsibility, engineering ethics, and ethics and risk management. She has written articles on applied ethics in numerous fields, and on science policy and citizen participation. Dr. Hollander is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and received the Olmsted Award “for innovative contributions to the liberal arts within engineering education” from the American Society of Engineering Education’s Liberal Education Division in 2006. She received her doctorate in philosophy in 1979 from the University of Maryland, College Park.
  • Emma French, Research Assistant, Center for Urban Innovation, Georgia Tech.  Emma is a recent graduate (May 2017) of Georgia Tech’s dual Masters program in Public Policy (MPP) and City and Regional Planning (MCRP). During Emma’s three years at Georgia Tech she worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Urban Innovation where she investigated sustainable urban food systems, local open data policies, and resiliency planning among other things. Emma was selected to participate in Serve-Learn-Sustain’s Smart City Fellowship in the Spring of 2017 and was also a member of the Misono (Japan) Smart City Studio led by Dr. Perry Yang. Post-graduation Emma aims to support the design and development of equitable, sustainable communities through participatory planning and critical policy analysis and evaluation.
  • David Chavez, D., Signals and Communications Theory Area Professor and Chairman; Director of the Rural Telecommunications Research Group; and Professor of the Department of Engineering at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
  • James Walker, Founder and CEO of Informative Technologies. Informative Technologies Inc. is a social enterprise that has researched and developed scalable, market-driven solutions to the digital divide and electronic waste since 2014. This is made possible by their ReviveOS™ software, which revives “obsolete” computers so they can run better than ever; thus breaking the cycle of planned obsolescence that’s built into competing operating systems today. Their vision is a digitally inclusive society where technology is reused—not discarded—and where people are empowered to achieve success through affordable access to information.

12:30PM       Lunch & Cross-Site Conference Conclusion (Atkins 143)

2:00PM         Charlotte’s North End Neighborhood Walking Tour

This will be an opportunity to think through the ideas of smart and connected communities while walking through an area of Charlotte that has been identified as part of the “North End Smart District”, which is intended to be “A vibrant center for economic development and job growth with a great quality of life fueled by data, innovative technologies, and collaboration on a foundation of equitable community engagement”[source] Tom Hanchett will talk about the history of the Lockwood neighborhood, while Chris Dennis will discuss the recent changes in the neighborhood and his work with Community Dream Builders to help improve his community.

Tour Guides:

  • Tom Hanchett, Community Historian
  • Christopher Dennis, Lockwood Neighborhood Association


Click to see other site agendas:

Atlanta, GA

Baltimore, MD