People

Smart cities research at Georgia Tech touches on everything from computing and engineering to the social sciences. We're bringing together faculty and staff from multiple disciplines across campus to make a greater impact on our communities.

Leadership

Debra Lam

Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation

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Debra Lam is managing director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology. She has over a decade of experience in urban innovation and resilience, strategy and management, and previously served as Chief Innovation and Performance Officer for the City of Pittsburgh. Lam is a founding leader of the MetroLab Network and serves on their executive steering committee. She’s also a World Cities Summit Young Leader, a Leadership Pittsburgh alumni, and has spoken nationally and internationally on inclusive innovation, performance management, data-driven decision-making, and cultural change. Management Today named Lam to its “35 Women Under 35” list, and she was also a finalist for Women of the Future, Science and Technology.
 

 

Jennifer Clark

Associate Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation
Director of the Center for Urban Innovation
Associate Professor of Public Policy


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Jennifer Clark is Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she is Director of the Center for Urban Innovation and Associate Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation.

Dr. Clark teaches courses on urban and regional economic development theory, analysis, and practice and research design and methods.  She specializes in the theory and analysis of the spatial organization of economic activity and regional economic development policy. Dr. Clark has provided expert testimony before the US Congress and policy advice and consulting to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Commission, the Canadian, UK, and US governments as well as serving on nongovernmental policy commissions and committees.

Her books include Working Regions: Reconnecting Innovation and Production in the Knowledge Economy (2013), Remaking Regional Economies: Power, Labor, and Firm Strategies in the Knowledge Economy (2007) w/ Susan Christopherson, and the 3rd edition of Basic Methods of Policy Analysis and Planning (2012) w/ Carl Patton and David Sawicki, a widely adopted text in public policy and urban and regional planning courses. In 2015 she co-edited Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy. Her current research projects include a new book: Making Smart Cities: Innovation and the Production of New Urban Knowledge (Columbia University Press). 

Dr. Clark serves as the Chair of the Economic Geography Specialty Group (EGSG) of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) as well as serving as the Chair of the AAG’s Nominating Committee. She is also an editor of the journal, Regional Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from Cornell University, a Master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.


Program Staff

Kristi Kirkland

Research Associate, Institute for People and Technology
 

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In collaboration with Smart Cities & Inclusive Innovation faculty, staff, and students, Ms. Kirkland provides administrative project management support for SCii’s programs, activities, and events. Concurrently, Ms. Kirkland also provides research support for the Tennenbaum Institute which conducts research on various issues, opportunities, and challenges associated with fundamental transformation in enterprises. Ms. Kirkland is the Managing Editor of the Journal of Enterprise Transformation and is also an instructor for GT 1000 (First Year Seminar) helping to support the successful transition and experience of new students at Georgia Tech.

Before coming to Georgia Tech in 2004, Ms. Kirkland worked as a Business Analyst for Enterprise Support Systems, a strategic planning firm, in a variety of positions including marketing, research and finance. She holds a B.A. degree in Business Administration from Furman University, a M.B.A. from Georgia State University, and a M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University.

Emma French

Research Scientist, Institute for People and Technology and Center for Urban Innovation

 

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Emma French is a Research Scientist with the Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation team at the Institute for People and Technology and the Center for Urban Innovation at Georgia Tech. Emma's research revolves around the development, implementation, and analysis of sustainable urban policy and planning efforts. Specific areas of interest include open data policy and practice, smart technology deployment, and mechanisms for ensuring inclusive urban innovation. In addition to research Emma leads efforts to develop strategic partnerships with public and private sector stakeholders involved in smart city work. Emma holds master's degrees in Public Policy and City and Regional Planning from Georgia Tech, as well as a bachelor's degree in Environmental Analysis from Pitzer College.

Thomas Lodato

Research Scientist, Institute for People and Technology and Center for Urban Innovation

 

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Dr. Thomas Lodato is a research scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology with the Institute of People and Technology and Center for Urban Innovation. His work focuses on two domains: (1) smart cities and civic technology and (2) future of work. In these areas, Lodato conducts research on open government data, the professionalization of civic hacking, smart city technical assistance, and flexible work practices. You can find him on Twitter at @thomas_lodato