UF and city officials signed an agreement in February 2017 formalizing their partnership in working together on the UF Strategic Development plan and the city of Gainesville’s Strategic Framework for a more citizen-centered government.
“We’re not just going to consult with each other or loosely collaborate,” said W. Kent Fuchs, University of Florida President. We will actually address problems together. Gainesville is starting to see what the University of Florida’s commitment to improving the city it calls home looks like in practice.
Joint initial efforts have concentrated on four major areas: Collaborative Planning, Volunteer Corps, Fellowship Programs and Smart Cities Lab initiatives. Under collaborative planning, in partnership with the City of Gainesville, the University has awarded over $300,000 in grant funding to seed seven projects out of 62 research proposals, in topical areas ranging from health and wellness, smart cities, economic development and equity. Under volunteerism, the partnership is participating in programs such as the Cities of Service Coalition, AmeriCorps Vistas. This year, a new UF/City Fellowship Program began with four students selected through the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.
The final area of collaborative effort utilizes the City of Gainesville as a living laboratory for research into some of the most difficult issues to solve in urban areas through the Smart Cities Lab initiative.
“The city will collaboratively commit to economic growth for every person, regardless of background,” said Mayor Lauren Poe. “In Gainesville, our people are our purpose.”
To date, funded research projects include the following:
Data-centric Modeling and Support of the Lifecycle of Gainesville Businesses, which investigates the use of urban informatics and data-centric information systems to gain a better understanding of Gainesville business lifecycles and how the city can optimize support of business enterprise.
Neighborhoods as Community Assets: Preparing for the Future While Protecting Neighborhoods seeks to address a critical link between urban redevelopment, neighborhood preservation, and gentrification, by developing and implementing a scalable pilot citizen-participatory process to better understand these issues.
Public Acceptance of Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Technology extends existing partnerships between UF, the City of Gainesville, and the Florida Department of Transportation with the department committing about $1.5 million in funding, to understand public acceptance of this emerging technology.
Building a Partnership Between Early Head Start and the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies to Benefit Young Children and Families in East Gainesville hopes to expand a national outreach model to address the research to practice gap in early child and education services.
The Gainesville Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program seeks to foster startup activity among economically and otherwise disadvantaged citizens, and help existing ventures become sustainable and grow.
Community Resource Paramedicine: An Innovative Approach to Meeting the Needs of Gainesville’s Most Vulnerable Populations combines partnership between two University colleges and the Gainesville Fire Rescue Department to explore practices that reduce Emergency Department visits, reduce 911 call volumes, and improve quality of life for Gainesville’s most vulnerable citizens by expanding the Community Resource Paramedic program beyond its current pilot phase.
Urban Energy Model for Smart City Informatics provides sophisticated analysis to aid local decision making and energy management using extensive data to be analyzed utilizing UF’s HiPerGator high-performance computing resource.
Optimism abounds that this is the beginning of additional collaborations between UF and Gainesville, helping improve the quality of life for everyone in our community!