School of Architecture hosts Research Coordination Network (RCN) Workshop


Principal Investigator:

Ila Berman, Dean and Edward E. Elson Professor, UVA School of Architecture

Co-Principal Investigators: 

Karen Rheuban, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Karen Rheuban Center for Telemedicine, UVA School of Medicine

Donna Chen, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UVA School of Engineering

Qian Cai, Director of the Center for Demographic Research, UVA

RCN Director: 

Mona El Khafif, Associate Professor, UVA School of Architecture

The National Science  Foundation recently awarded UVA a grant of $495,280.00 for the project, Polycentric Development Toward the Vision of 21st Century Main Street in Virginia.  This grant was awarded under The Smart and Connected Communities (SCC)  program which supports strongly interdisciplinary, integrative research  that will improve understanding of smart and connected communities and  lead to discoveries that enable sustainable change to enhance community  functioning. This award will support the development of a Research  Coordination Network (RCN) led by UVA with 14 partner organizations. 

The RCN MainStreet21 Workshop is the first of six that will bring together research partners and agencies with a goal of creating Smart and Connected Communities for medium/small size, remote, and rural communities through a poly-centric (multiple centers) integrated policy, design, and technology approach.  The communities served by the RCN have higher barriers to information,  resources, and services than larger urban communities. To reduce this  gap, the principal investigators propose to develop need-based R&D  pipelines to select solutions with the highest potential impacts to the  communities. Instead of trying to connect under-connected communities to  nearby large cities, this proposal aims to develop economic  opportunities within the communities themselves.


This kickoff workshop will introduce the project stakeholders to each each other and serve as an opportunity to identify priority issues for RCN. 

10AM: Welcome and Overview of Workshop Goals

10:15AM: Introductions

10:30AM: RCN Project Update including Website and Tool Development and Rural Virginia Initiative (President's Working Group)

11AM: Identifying Priority Issues for RCN through small working groups. Topics include: 1) Health 2) Education 3) Economy/Workforce Development 4) Culture/Environment 5) Transportation/Infrastructure

Round 1: Key Issues for Communities/Research

Round 2: Key Data Needs

Round 3: Identifying Gaps/Potential Synergies between topic areas

12PM: Lunch

12:15PM: Determining Priority Focus Areas 

Round 1: Criteria for Focus Areas, including: 1) Impact 2) Intellectual Merit 3) Technological Advancement 4) Scalability 5) Feasibility 6) Other

Round 2: Small working groups Identify Priority Focus Areas

Round 3: Lightning Review of Priority Focus Areas

Round 4: Free Rotation

1PM: Review RCN Priority Outcomes through Group Discussion

1:15PM: Network Development: Partners, Strategies/Tools, and Methods for Sharing Data

1:45PM: Next Steps


Susan Barker (UVA Engineering) 

Ila Berman (UVA Architecture)

Stephanie Bertaina (Environmental Protection Agency)

Leanna Blevins (New College Institute) 

Qian Cai (UVA Weldon Cooper Center)

Donna Cheng (UVA Engineering)

Katrina Debnam (UVA Education/Nursing school) 

Tanya Denckla Cobb (IEN Institute for Environmental Negotiation) 

Jackson Douglas (Virginia Dept. Housing and Community Development) 

Brenda Van Gelder, (Virginia Tech)

Jon Goodall (linkLab Associate Director)

Guoping Huang (UVA Planning)

David Ihrie (CTO, Virginia Center for Innovative Technology) 

Alex Ikefuna (City of Charlottesville)

Mona El Khafif (UVA Architecture)

Joe Kochan (COO, US Ignite)

Ben Lavine (ED, Metrolab) 

Andrew Mondschein (UVA Planning)

Suzanne Moomaw (UVA Planning)

Tho Nguyen (UVA Computer Science) 

Peter Norton (UVA Engineering) 

Karen Rheuben (UVA Medicine, Telemedicine)

Jean Rice (National Telecommunications and Information Administration)

Jeffrey Sadler (Virginia Dept. Housing and Community Development) 

Kimberly Winn (VA Municipal League)

Joshua Yates (Thriving Cities)

Zihao Zhang (UVA Phd Student Landscape Architecture)