City Digital Announces First Projects, Participates in White House Smart Cities Forum

| Steve Fifita, Executive Director of City Digital

Microsoft is proud to be a founding partner in City Digital at UI LABS. This week, City Digital is announcing, on a national stage, the innovative first projects that will take place right here in Chicago. Many thanks to our guest author, Steve Fifita, for sharing his perspectives on the White House event, the new projects, and the opportunities for City Digital and innovation in smart urban infrastructure.

— MSFT Chicago Staff


Today City Digital participated in the White House Smart Cities Forum in Washington, DC. The Forum, organized by the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), brings together government, the research community, and cities to uncover innovative solutions to problems citizens care about – like reducing traffic congestion, fostering economic growth, improving sustainability, fighting crime, and improving the delivery of important services.

I was honored to be invited to the Forum, to meet people and organizations who share Chicago and City Digital’s vision for the opportunities emerging at the intersection of cities and technology and to discuss City Digital’s collaborative approach to innovations for urban infrastructure, such as water, energy, buildings, and transportation.

One of the key reasons I joined City Digital at UI LABS was because of the shared belief of the power of collaboration. UI LABS, like the diverse group of leaders at the Smart Cities Forum, believes that the best outcomes come from collaboration and the sharing of expertise among universities, industries, and government to identify challenges and focus on solutions. At City Digital, we incubate and execute cross-sector partnerships that include companies, universities, and national labs, with deep input and involvement from the City of Chicago.  

For example, today we are announcing two of our first projects – both aimed at reducing disruptions to people’s ability to navigate their cities. The first focuses on monitoring the installation of green infrastructure and how it might diminish local flooding of streets. The second focuses on improving management of work plans for underground assets, like water pipes, to reduce the amount of time streets are constrained by construction. More information is available here.  

These projects reflect the thought leadership and willingness to explore new approaches by our partners and especially by the City of Chicago, and we are excited to join the conversation at the federal level through summits such as the Smart Cities Forum.

In addition, the Smart Cities Forum kicks off Smart Cities Week in D.C., where City Digital’s consortium members will be part of the national and international discussion of the opportunities in this exciting space.

The array of participants and projects being announced at the Smart Cities Forum and highlighted during Smart Cities Week show the potential for work that affects and transforms people and businesses’ ability to thrive in Chicago and around the world, and City Digital is honored to be a part of the local, national, and global effort.  

Steve Fifita is the Executive Director of City Digital. Follow today’s White House Smart Cities Forum conversation on Twitter at #WHSmartCities.

City Digital enables urban infrastructure experiments at scale to develop real solutions for the marketplace, so that, if successful, they can continue and be extended to have impact in other cities. For more information or to join us, please visit

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