These partnerships are a “win-win” scenario, said Karen Lightman, the executive director of Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
“It’s free advice for the city to take or leave,” she told Insider. “City-university collaboration gives researchers an opportunity to do something that’s meaningful and real-world based.”..
Atlanta-based Georgia Tech runs Smart Community Corps, a summer program that pairs the students from Georgia Tech and other colleges and universities in Georgia to work on real smart-city projects across the state. For example, students have worked on a traffic monitoring project in Valdosta and smart-pedestrian planning in Clayton County.
Working on city projects also shows students that public service is a career option, Lightman said. Students may choose to live and work in the city after graduation once they’ve been involved in a partnership, which helps municipalities retain talented residents and benefits the community in the long run.