The national MetroLab Network in which the Seattle MetroLab studio will participate is a set of City-University pairs with membership from 20 major metropolitan areas across the country. Our participation in the network was ratified by Ana Mari Cauce and Mayor Ed Murray in September 2015 through an MOU committing to engage on multiple Smart Cities projects in the next 18 months spanning technology, data sharing, and infrastructure, and to reaffirm our commitment to equity, inclusiveness, and community engagement in our selection of projects and our methods of work. The Seattle MetroLab Studio manifests our participation in the national community, which will help ensures external visibility of our work, idea and solution exchange with our metroplitan areas, and influence over the national conversation.
The University of Washington's Urban@UW and eScience Institute propose to collaboratively launch the Seattle MetroLab Studio. Building on participation by UW and the City of Seattle in the national MetroLab Network, the Seattle MetroLab Studio will establish permanent capacity for urgent, high-impact data-driven analytics and research projects on behalf of government and community stakeholders, addressing the complex challenges and opportunities of the urban landscape. This unit will be unique in its ability to deploy 1) the advanced skills, tools, and techniques of data science, 2) the oversight, rigor, and perspective of the academic research community studying urban social issues, 3) a strong engagement with key stakeholders in the local, city, and community leadership, and 4) direct support from the highest levels of UW administration. The Seattle MetroLab Studio will aim to provide a "data voice" in contexts that are typically dominated by inertia, opinion, and politics.