Portland | June 26 - 28

2023 Summit Agenda

Our annual summit brings together 200+ local government leaders, innovators, and academic researchers from across the civic ecosystem that aim to intentionally bring vital two public institutions together in partnership: our local governments and universities. MetroLab’s summit is the moment in which we ask questions of each other in the spirit of learning, feature impactful work, and seek opportunities for collaboration. This year, the summit will focus on innovative regional ecosystems and climate resiliency, along with breakout sessions with topics including infrastructure, data, and partnership.

Day 1 | Monday, June 26

Portland State University- Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom; 1825 SW Broadway

8:30 AM

Arrival, Check-in and Breakfast

9:00 AM

Welcome: Dr. Susan Jeffords, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Portland State University

9:15 AM

Welcome: Mayor Ted Wheeler, City of Portland

9:45 AM

A conversation with federal government agencies on priority programs including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 and more.

  • Nader Afzalan, Ph.D., Advisor, Community and Economic Resilience, California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
  • Nancy Gilbert, Economic Development Integrator at U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration
  • John E. Taylor, Program Director, National Science Foundation
  • Moderator: Kate Burns, Executive Director, MetroLab Network

10:30 AM


11:00 AM

Portland leaders join us to discuss an initiative passed in 2018 that provides a consistent, long-term funding source and oversight structure to ensure that the community’s climate action efforts are implemented to support social, economic, and environmental benefits for Portlanders, particularly communities of color and people with low incomes.

  • Carmen Rubio, Commissioner, City of Portland, OR
  • Sam Baraso, Manager, Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF)
  • Alan Hipólito, Executive Director, SUMA
  • Moderator: Donnie Oliveira, Director, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), City of Portland, OR

11:45 AM

The Stena Foundation, a family foundation based in Utah, has recently launched the Stena Center for Financial Technology at the University of Utah, and are working to build a unique and sustainable ecosystem for fintech in partnership with the State, City and flagship university. This panel will explore the funding mechanisms within the project, including investment funds and large scale real estate projects that illustrate how government, universities and private partners can collaborate and achieve common goals. 

  • Clark Cahoon: Technology and Innovation Advisor for Office of Salt Lake City Mayor
  • Ryan Christiansen: Director of Stena Center for Financial Technology at University of Utah 
  • Ben McAdams: Senior Fellow at Sorenson Impact Center, and Founder of Common Ground Institute
  • Sarah Senft, Managing Director, Stena Foundation

12:30 PM


1:30 PM

State of the Lab: MetroLab’s Executive Director, Kate Burns,  provides the annual update on the state of research and science in communities, and building our understanding of transformative partnerships with local governments and universities.

2:00 - 5:00 PM

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Three breakout rooms will each host a different topic throughout the afternoon.


The three tracks include:

  • Partnership and Community Engagement
  • Climate and Infrastructure
  • Data: Using it and Protecting It

2:00 PM

Partnership and Community Engagement (room 338)

The Role of Government in Building Trust with Residents

Please join us for a panel on how government can practically and sustainably build trust with the community. We’ll discuss different approaches for trust building with residents, from co-designing new solutions with residents to creating a shared set of values within city hall. With real-life expertise from Chief Innovation Officers, this panel will delve into the practical steps and actions that will allow your city to intentionally develop relationships with stakeholders and prove that you are trustworthy partners to address shared problems.

    • Liana Elliott, Senior Advisor, Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation, Johns Hopkins University
    • Katie Saviano, Program Manager, Centre for Public Impact
    • Terrance Smith, Bloomberg Public Innovation Fellows, Johns Hopkins University
    • Jenna Wallace, R&D Administrator, City of San Antonio, TX

Climate and Infrastructure (room 296)

Using Accessible Technologies to Protect All City Dwellers from Climate Extremes

Climate change is making cities increasingly dangerous for their most vulnerable residents, including people with disabilities, older adults, and people who lack shelter. In this session, we discuss how Portland and other cities are protecting these populations from extreme heat, smoke, and incursions of wildfire into urban areas, and whether new technologies can help these people stay safe.

    • Nickole Cheron, ADA Title II and Disability Equity Manager, City of Portland
    • Lisa Strader, ADA Coordinator, Portland Bureau of Transportation
    • Haizhong Wang, , Ph.D., School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University
    • Moderator: Jonathan Fink, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Digital City Testbed Center, Portland State University


Data: Using it and Protecting It (room 327)

Modernizing public interest data practice: evaluating and addressing organization needs, tools, and capacity

Groups working towards a public interest, such as NGOs, municipal institutions, or social impact organizations, use data across a variety of program areas; data-driven or data-informed approaches are well established in strategic planning, impact evaluation, and public-facing communication. This panel brings together leadership, technical, and non-profit perspectives on the process of capacity-building through evaluating the unique data needs of public interest organizations, building tools and applications, and working towards a more equitable and accessible data practice landscape for organizations large and small.

    • Dylan Halpern, Technical Lead – Open Spatial Lab, the University of Chicago Data Science Institute
    • Yonas Kassie, Founder and Director, Ethiopian Eritrean Cultural Resource Center
    • Sarah Hopwood, Director, Programs and Education, Stanford Impact Labs
    • Launa Greer, Software Engineer, the University of Chicago Data Science Institute

3:00 PM

Partnership and Community Engagement (room 338)

Public Engagement Workshop: Connecting & Building Relationships

This interactive workshop introduces how and when research is used in policymaking and what informs policymakers’ day-to-day decision-making. The training emphasizes the value of building relationships with policy actors and helps scholars identify and take the first steps to initiate those connections.

    • Paola Maynard-Moll, Executive Director, Scholars Strategy Network
    • Danielle Mulligan, Director of Member Engagement, Scholars Strategy Network


Climate and Infrastructure (room 296)

Forest & Wildfire & Climate (Oh, My!): The Wicked Risk of the West

Catastrophic wildfires have engulfed the West, upending lives, choking our air with smoke, and doing damage to forest communities and vital watersheds. In Northern California, local governments in Placer County have teamed up with local colleges and universities, business groups, and state and federal partners to speed community recovery and restore forest health. Learn how these self-help partners are using cross-sectional solutions to create new climate change and infrastructure breakthroughs, leverage funding, build economic vitality, and ultimately build a more resilient county.

    • Jane Christenson, Chief Executive Officer, Placer County, Auburn, CA
    • Willy Duncan, Superintendent/President Sierra Community College District, Rocklin, CA
    • Caroline Godkin, Executive Director, Climate & Wildfire Institute, Sacramento, CA
    • Andy Fecko, General Manager, Placer County Water Agency, Auburn, CA

Data: Using it and Protecting It (room 327)

Integrating, Securing, and Using Collective Data through Collaborative Governance

Through a collaborative governance framework, design, implemented, and managed by participating organizations, Houston and Kansas were able to overcome differences in data, definitions, systems & tools, and security / access protocols to combine their data to achieve these goals and establish an ongoing, iterative governing body to leverage their data and agreement to address future goals and challenges. This panel will discuss the challenges of doing this work and how the collaborative governance framework enabled them to overcome their differences and establish an equitable and secure infrastructure to facilitate their needs, all while building trust and understanding among regional stakeholders that will be the foundation for collective work in the region for years to come.

    • David Goodman, Ph.D., VP of Learning & Impact, Ajah
    • Teri Garstka, Ph.D.,  Associate Director, Center for Public Partnerships and Research at University of Kansa

4:00 PM

Partnership and Community Engagement (room 338)

Co-producing Place-based Impact through Community Engagement

The session will counterpose the familiar notion of the ‘smart city’ with the idea of the intelligent city (or region). We argue, using the UK as the research context, that an intelligent city maximises both the contribution of its anchor institutions and collaboration between them to (i) function effectively (and in inclusive way) and (ii) to compete nationally and internationally. There is clear evidence that having one or more university institutions, and especially a large research-intensive university, gives a city a significant competitive advantage compared with places that lack a university, but this advantage is only fully exploited where place needs guide shared agendas and when civic engagement becomes a core component of university missions and strategies. 

    • Sara Hassan, Ph.D.,  Research Fellow City Region Economic Development Institute, University of Birmingham
    • Des McNulty, Honorary Fellow, Civic Partnership and Place Leadership, University of Glasgow
    • Hannes Read, Policy and Data Analyst, University of Birmingham 

Climate and Infrastructure (room 296)

Over the Horizon: Creating a Innovative Systems and Culture Adapt to Crisis 

Communities around the globe had to adapt to the crisis of COVID-19 but what remains to be seen is whether those changes, in response to an emergency, will create lasting change for good. Hear from local innovators who are creating an innovative culture, and creating systems of data-driven governance, that improve operations, but also can respond to any crisis. This requires an inclusive approach internally and externally, a forward-thinking strategy for adopting new ideas, and a peer centered approach to learning which democratizes skills and understanding rather than burying it with subject matter experts.

    • Rachel Maltz, Senior Program Manager, City of Carlsbad, CA
    • David Graham, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Carlsbad, CA
    • David van Gilluwe, Chief Data Officer, City of Carlsbad, CA

Data: Using it and Protecting It (room 327)

City in Motion: Data & Digital Infrastructure for Mobility

As technology continues to intersect with transportation, the way we move around our cities constantly changes. Learn more about how innovative public agencies and companies use data and digital infrastructure – including open-source data standards – as effective tools to manage urban mobility and curb space. Speakers will discuss how cities are digitizing regulations, gathering data about curb use and shared mobility services, and modernizing management strategies to address city policy needs and reach safety, equity, and sustainability goals.

    • Ahmed Darrat, General Manager, Public Sector, INRIX
    • Kelly Rula, Director, Urban Freight Lab Partnership, University of Washington
    • Michael Schnuerle, Director of Open Source Operations, Open Mobility Foundation 
    • Jacob Sherman, New Mobility Program Manager, Policy, Planning and Projects Group, Portland Bureau of Transportation

5:00 PM

Day 1 of Summit Programming Concluded

5:30 PM

Networking Reception

Please join us at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) for an opportunity to network with fellow Summit attendees. 

Day 2 | Tuesday, June 27

Portland State University- Smith Memorial Student Union; 1825 SW Broadway​

8:30 AM

Pascal Caraccioli-Salinas, Data Science Student at Portland State University, welcomes the summit to kick off day two. 

8:45 AM

Student Cup Finals

Established in 2020, MetroLab’s Student Cup Competition recognizes, amplifies, and supports impactful collaboration. A prize is awarded to students from MetroLab member universities working in partnership with government and/or community collaborates on civic technology, data, and innovation projects. We will hear presentations from the finalists during this session.

Data Privacy & Equity Impact Assessment for Oakland, CA

  • Cleveland State University w/ Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission (PAC) & Oakland Department of Transportation (OAKDOT)


Lane County Parks Deferred Maintenance and Operations Funding Alternatives

  • University of Oregon w/ Lane County, OR


Precision Forecast of Land Cover Change

  • University of Pennsylvania w/ the Chesapeake Conservancy & the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission


Community-Scale Spatial Mapping to Prioritize Green and Grey Infrastructure Locations to Increase Flood Resilience

  • Georgia Tech w/ the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Planning Commission, & City of Savannah

9:30 AM

During this session the panelists will discuss the theory and practice behind transformative partnerships: Cross-sector structures that overcome historic and organizational limitations to center progress on complex and long-term challenges. The first part of the plenary will focus on the challenges cities face and why we need fundamentally new approaches to partnerships. Then the panel will provide a case example from the Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative where transformative partnerships are being built and the challenges and opportunities facing their development. The final part of the talk outlines generalizable practices and principles that can aid the development (and scaling) of transformative partnerships.
  • Fletcher Beaudoin, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University
  • Liliana Caughman, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher,  Arizona State University
  • Lauren Keeler, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University

10:15 AM

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Karen Marrongelle, Chief Operating Officer, National Science Foundation

Introduced by MetroLab board member, Santiago Garces, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Boston

10:45 AM


11:00 AM

This panel will feature a discussion among industry leaders, local government, and policy experts to consider the following: 1) What are the possibilities of AI and its everyday use case(s)? 2) How can cities and counties use this technology to streamline processes? What are some cautionary policies to consider? 3) Similarly for universities, how can AI benefit education and what parameters should be set?

  • Jim Loter, Chief Technology Officer (Interim), City of Seattle, WA
  • K S Venkatraman, Ph.D., Sr. Director, AI Computing, NVIDIA and Member, Oregon Workforce & Talent Development Board
  • Divyansh Kaushik, Ph.D., Associate Director, Emerging Technologies and National Security, Federation of American Scientists
  • Lisa Camp, Chief of Staff & Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Provost, Case Western Reserve University

11:45 AM

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Robert Hampshire, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, US Department of Transportation

Introduced by Kevin Martin, Smart City PDX/Tech Services Manager, City of Portland

12:00 PM


1:00 PM

Hear updates and announcements from the MetroLab Data Governance Task Force, launching a digital tool for local governments seeking policy guidance with respect to data governance, protecting data, and community engagement.


  • Kate Burns, Executive Director, MetroLab Network
  • Tony Luppino, Professor of Law and Director of Entrepreneurship Programs, University of Missouri Kansas City

1:30 PM

A conversation with Portland Community Leaders on the role data justice can play in creating equitable, thriving communities.

  • Aileen Duldulao, Ph.D., Data Equity Measurement Methodologist, Office of Equity and Inclusion, Oregon Health Authority
  • Andres Lopez, Ph.D., Research Director, Coalition of Communities of Color
  • Alyshia Macaysa-Feracota, Executive Director, Oregon Pacific Islander Coalition

2:15 PM


2:30 - 4:30 PM

Roundtable Discussions

This year’s summit will feature a new style of conversation among all summit attendees. We will have two rooms concurrently to host a facilitated roundtable discussion, inviting experts to discuss new research efforts, research needs, and promising solutions on Sustaining Connected Communities, Student Engagement, Community Engagement and Local R&D Agenda. Further details below.

2:30 PM

Sustaining Connected Communities (room 338)

To better understand and address issues related to the integration and scaling of smart communities technologies, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Carnegie Mellon University’s Metro21: Smart Cities Institute (Metro21) to host a workshop entitled Enabling and Sustaining Connected Communities Rooted in Solving Societal Challenges. The in-person workshop and pre-workshop virtual listening sessions were designed to elicit feedback and suggestions from experts in academia, government, nonprofits, civic organizations, and industry to identify solutions to the significant technical, policy, and socioeconomic challenges to integration and scaling of connected communities technologies. The findings include feedback from experts in the following domains: mobility/transportation, energy, climate resilience, ecosystem services and multiple applications. The resultant solutions and suggestions are summarized in a soon-to-be released report that will be the highlight of this roundtable discussion, where we’ll discuss the opportunities for collaboration.

    • Coordinated by:
      • Karen Lightman, Executive Director, Metro 21, Carnegie Mellon University 
    • Contributors
      • Rachel Berney, Ph.D., Associate Prof. Urban Design & Planning, & Faculty Director, Urban@UW at the Univ of Washington
      • Tom Schenk, Managing Director, KPMG
      • Santiago Garces, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Boston, MA


Student Engagement (room 327)

This roundtable session will feature a discussion on how to support students, and how students can bring solutions to our shared challenges. How are students bringing creativity and brilliance to cities? How can we engage students with local governments to create a better workforce pipeline? How can we connect students with resilient agencies and NGOs? What are innovations in curriculum and student programs at universities to prepare and inspire the future workforce?

    • Facilitator
      • David Glick, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Boston University
    • Contributor
      • Megan Banks, Sustainable City Year Program Director, Sustainable Cities Institute, University of Oregon
      • Beth Gilden, Associate Director for Regional Partnerships and Projects, Portland State University

3:30 PM

Community Engagement (room 338)

This roundtable session will feature a discussion on how to continue improving ways in which we can engage with our community. How can we ensure community engagement is inclusive and diverse? What are some unique ways to broaden outreach? How can universities and local governments work together to streamline efforts in acquiring feedback and more deeply understanding community issues? How can universities coordinate community engagement efforts?

    • Facilitators
      • Rachel Berney, Ph.D., Associate Prof. Urban Design & Planning, & Faculty Director, Urban@UW at the Univ of Washington
      • Jen Davison, Ph.D., Director, Urban@UW and Proj. Director for Community Engagement at the Univ of Washington
    • Contributors
      • Chad Phelan, GIS Modernization Implementation Lead, City of Seattle
      • Phillip Carnell, Planning & Equity Data Analyst, City of Seattle
      • Aja Hazelhoff, Outreach & Engagement Coordinator, Office of Planning & Community Development, City of Seattle 

Local R&D Agenda (room 327)

MetroLab is considering bringing together its ecosystem to create a national R&D agenda for local governments. This roundtable session will feature a workshop format, engaging the audience in a feedback session to understand directly the knowledge gaps and research needs of local governments. This workshop will ask local government participants “if you could research on [blank], what would you want?” University and academic researchers will be asked to vet this feedback, providing an assessment of what research questions could result from this exercise. And finally to the entire group, what is the most effective output from research efforts to ensure civic research is actionable? 

  • Facilitators
    • Kate Burns, Executive Director, MetroLab Network
    • David Rowe, Chief of Staff, MetroLab Network

4:30 PM

Day 2 of Summit Programming Concludes

The Innovation Showcase will feature five deployed research projects funded under the Civic Innovation Challenge. Seeded in 2021 with a $1M grant opportunity, each project worked with community partners to address challenges with either disaster resiliency or mobility and access to jobs. Now, these teams will tell the story of their journey, as well as highlight opportunities for partnership to continue their work and create greater impact.

We encourage all Summit attendees to join us at the Innovation Showcase to learn more about CIVIC and these pilots.

5:00 PM

Innovation Showcase

EcoTrust Building- Natural Capital Center

Please note: shuttles will be provided for Summit attendees to the event venue.​

Platform for Long-Term Disaster Recovery

  • Hampton Roads, VA
    The Hampton Roads team implemented CIMA, a platform for disaster recovery organizations to match the supply of donated materials and labor with the needs of displaced low-to-moderate income and medically fragile households.


Digitally Mapping New York City’s Underground

  • New York, NY
    The New York team implemented UNUM, collaborating with local stakeholders to develop a subsurface infrastructure data model and map for natural disaster risk identification and mitigation measures.


Job-Based Microtransit

  • Milwaukee, WI
    The Milwaukee team implemented FlexRide Milwaukee, an on-demand microtransit service, to solve a persistent local spatial mismatch problem: low-income, inner-city workers having difficulty reaching suburban jobs.


Bike-to-Work Communities of Practice

  • Los Angeles, CA
    The Los Angeles team implemented CiBiC, which combines a human infrastructure bicycle commuting approach with a mobile application and participatory artwork to create a local bike-to-work community of practice.


Resiliency Mapmaking Curriculum for Youth

  • Savannah, GA
    The Savannah team implemented YARDS, a curriculum focused on cultivating BIPOC-led mapmaking and advocacy skills to build community resilience to intersecting disasters.

6:00 PM

Social Hour/Reception

Day 3 | Wednesday, June 28 - 2023 CIVIC Forum

Portland State University- Hoffman Hall; 1833 SW 11th Ave

Note: Day 3 morning programming is intended for CIVIC teams only.

The 2023 CIVIC Forum will serve as the first annual convening of all cohorts of the Civic Innovation Challenge, past and present. It is an opportunity to form and build meaningful relationships between researchers who share the unique experience of executing 1 year, $1 million pilot projects alongside community partners. It is also an opportunity to expose these teams to leaders in local governments and philanthropic funders to seed potential sustainability, transferability, and scalability options.

8:30 AM

Breakfast: Teeing up the Conference

9:00 AM


10:00 AM


10:30 AM

MetroLab Network’s Executive Director, Kate Burns, will sit down with Paola Maynard-Moll, Executive Director of the Scholars Strategy Network to discuss research in the field

11:00 AM

CIVIC Teams will split into breakouts, topics for breakouts will be suggested and voted on by participants.

12:00 PM

CIVIC Teams will split into breakouts, topics for breakouts will be suggested and voted on by participants.

1:00 PM

CIVIC Teams will split into breakouts, topics for breakouts will be suggested and voted on by participants.

2:00 PM

MetroLab Closeout

2:30 PM

CIVIC Forum Concludes