Urban Initiatives @ City Lab


A number of urban initiatives are promoted by City Lab to further its institutional aims in a variety of service-learning contexts. There are three main initiatives in progress in this realm:


  1. The Hometown Initiative
  2. The E-Campus Initiative
  3. The City Sounds Initiative


Hometown Initiative

In 2004-2005, Prof. Carrera inaugurated a series of studies entitled the "Hometown Projects" to give students who are not participating in the Global Perspectives Program a chance to carry out an IQP that will benefit their home towns.  It is hoped that the local flavor of these projects will also engage faculty advisors who live in these towns, so that both students and faculty can be equally motivated by the desire to contribute to a place that holds personal significance to them.  Initially, we have focused on towns around the Worcester metro area, but we will expand this initiative to other locales as needed.  We are currently helping the towns of Spencer, Paxton, West Boylston, Shrewsbury and Boxborough as part of the Hometown Initiative.   City Lab will provide Urban Technologies to facilitate the collection of urban data and will incubate town Urban Information Systems in its servers before migrating them to final providers.  City Knowledge principles will pervade most of the hometown projects so that a cumulative accrual of urban information can emerge over time to make WPI’s contribution to these towns more and more tangible as time passes.

E-Campus Initiative

Since 2003, Prof. Carrera (IGSD), Prof. Salazar (CEE) and John Miller, Director of Physical Plant and Associate Vice President for Administration have been promoting a series of Interactive Qualifying Projects to be carried out on campus to help WPI’s plant services migrate to an all-electronic management of information.  Projects include e-buildings, e-grounds, e-safety and e-parking.

City Sounds Initiative

In 2003, Prof. Carrera initiated the first of a series of projects intended to document sounds that characterize cities from around the world.  The first such project entitled “The Sounds of Venice” was completed in the summer of 2003 and it encompassed the identification, recording and documentation of over 150 indigenous Venetian sounds.

The goal is to make available the sounds to interested scholars, artists and sound professionals and to invite musicians to create original compositions that will incorporate these sounds into original scores.  The overall aim is to eventually collect and disseminate sounds from all of the cities where WPI operates project centers.

This multi-year interdisciplinary initiative will provide many opportunities for WPI students to complete their Sufficiencies, IQPs, MQPs, as well as ISPs both on and off campus.


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