Smart cities research at Georgia Tech touches on everything from computing and engineering to the social sciences. We're bringing together faculty and staff from multiple disciplines across campus to make a greater impact on our communities.


Debra Lam

Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation

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Debra Lam is managing director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology. She has over a decade of experience in urban innovation and resilience, strategy and management, and previously served as Chief Innovation and Performance Officer for the City of Pittsburgh. Lam is a founding leader of the MetroLab Network and serves on their executive steering committee. She’s also a World Cities Summit Young Leader, a Leadership Pittsburgh alumni, and has spoken nationally and internationally on inclusive innovation, performance management, data-driven decision-making, and cultural change. Management Today named Lam to its “35 Women Under 35” list, and she was also a finalist for Women of the Future, Science and Technology.


Jennifer Clark

Associate Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation
Director of the Center for Urban Innovation
Associate Professor of Public Policy

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Jennifer Clark is Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she is Director of the Center for Urban Innovation and Associate Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation.

Dr. Clark teaches courses on urban and regional economic development theory, analysis, and practice and research design and methods.  She specializes in the theory and analysis of the spatial organization of economic activity and regional economic development policy. Dr. Clark has provided expert testimony before the US Congress and policy advice and consulting to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Commission, the Canadian, UK, and US governments as well as serving on nongovernmental policy commissions and committees.

Her books include Working Regions: Reconnecting Innovation and Production in the Knowledge Economy (2013), Remaking Regional Economies: Power, Labor, and Firm Strategies in the Knowledge Economy (2007) w/ Susan Christopherson, and the 3rd edition of Basic Methods of Policy Analysis and Planning (2012) w/ Carl Patton and David Sawicki, a widely adopted text in public policy and urban and regional planning courses. In 2015 she co-edited Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy. Her current research projects include a new book: Making Smart Cities: Innovation and the Production of New Urban Knowledge (Columbia University Press). 

Dr. Clark serves as the Chair of the Economic Geography Specialty Group (EGSG) of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) as well as serving as the Chair of the AAG’s Nominating Committee. She is also an editor of the journal, Regional Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from Cornell University, a Master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

Program Staff

Kristi Kirkland

Research Associate, Institute for People and Technology

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In collaboration with Smart Cities & Inclusive Innovation faculty, staff, and students, Ms. Kirkland provides administrative project management support for SCii’s programs, activities, and events. Concurrently, Ms. Kirkland also provides research support for the Tennenbaum Institute which conducts research on various issues, opportunities, and challenges associated with fundamental transformation in enterprises. Ms. Kirkland is the Managing Editor of the Journal of Enterprise Transformation and is also an instructor for GT 1000 (First Year Seminar) helping to support the successful transition and experience of new students at Georgia Tech.

Before coming to Georgia Tech in 2004, Ms. Kirkland worked as a Business Analyst for Enterprise Support Systems, a strategic planning firm, in a variety of positions including marketing, research and finance. She holds a B.A. degree in Business Administration from Furman University, a M.B.A. from Georgia State University, and a M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University.

Greg McCormick

Director, Georgia Smart Communities Challenge

Senior Research Engineer, Georgia Tech Research Institute

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Greg McCormick is the Co-Director of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, a smart communities grant challenge for the state of Georgia, championed by the Institute for People and Technology at Georgia Tech and sponsored and supported by a team of community organizations and industries in partnership with Georgia Tech. Mr. McCormick is a Research Engineer at GTRI and holds an MBA, Master's, and Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Fariba Hollister

Program & Operations Manager, Smart Cities and inclusive Innovation

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Fariba Hollister is the program & operations manager for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Institute of Technology. She has over 20 years of experience in Product Development, Software Engineering, Supplier Quality and Project Management in Transportation Industry working for Ford, Visteon, Alcoa and Fiat/Chrysler. Before joining Georgia Tech she worked for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in Michigan as a project manager for the Powertrain Application Department where she applied her experience in software/system engineering, supplier quality and project management to manage Powertrain Calibration planning for multiple production vehicle programs. She worked cross-functionally with multiple teams from product development, regulatory affairs, and sales/marketing to successfully launch Dart, Fiat 500 X, Renegade, Abarth, and Hybrid Pacifica models. She holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Western Michigan University.