More than 50 tech industry experts, community leaders and Texas A&M scholars in the design, engineering, teaching and planning disciplines gathered in College Station May 14, 2019 for the ENDEAVR Tech Summit, an event that explored the anticipated future of education as realized through “smart” cities – efficiency optimized communities with a digitally networked infrastructure for managing resources, utilities, transportation and more.
ENDEAVR is an interdisciplinary project engaging students from the colleges of architecture and engineering to envision and design plans for “smart” infrastructures in Texas cities. Students seek technology-based solutions for challenges including climate change, transportation, aging populations, governance, economic growth and societal inclusion.
"It's a project-based, learning platform that connects students with industries and communities,” said Wei Li, principal investigator of the ENDEAVR project and a Texas A&M associate professor of urban planning.
“Texas A&M, as a large research enterprise, is building a collaborative ecosystem that fosters advanced research, technology, and education," said Mark Barteau, Texas A&M vice president for research, at the outset of the summit. "It’s the commitment to working closely with businesses and industries that helps to bring our innovations to the marketplace."
During the summit, Kara Escajeda, city manager of Nolanville, Texas, introduced the town's unique smart-town vision. The city, located approximately 17 miles from Killeen, has partnered with students in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban planning in ENDEAVR-relevant projects that were presented at the summit.
The presentations were followed a further dive into the ENDEAVR project in breakout sessions with summit attendees, who later toured the Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus' Center for Infrastructure Renewal Labs, the College of Architecture's Automated Fabrication and Design Lab and saw students’ tech demo work featuring autonomous vehicles.
The summit was also hosted by the Center for Teaching Excellence, College of Education and Human Development, Institute for Sustainable Communities, Texas Target Communities and the Texas Transportation Institute.
Additional contributing faculty included Anatol Bologan, instructional assistant professor of visualization; Theodora Chaspari and Ben Hu, assistant professors iof computer science and engineering; Chanam Lee, professor of landscape architecture, and Alireza Talebpour, assistant professor of engineering.