Center for Smart Cities and Regions


Current Projects

Greater Phoenix Smart Region Initiative

CSCR is working with Arizona Institute for Digital Progress (iDP), Greater Phoenix Economic Council and communities in the Greater Phoenix area to create the first smart region initiative.

Governance of Autonomous Vehicles

CSCR is working to advance the anticipatory capacity of urban governance institutions and local communities to shape the present and future of driverless vehicles. We are working to create a transferrable integrative research and engagement framework through initial studies, workshops and scenarios. We are currently collaborating with the City of Tempe to support early policy initiatives on AVs. As part of this work, our Co-Director Miller is a member of the City of Tempe Technology and Innovation Subcommittee tasked with generating policy options for managing self-driving cars.

Equity and Engagement in the Smart City

CSCR is collaborating with city and regional government in Portland, OR to create a framework for how cities can be proactive in leverage emerging smart technologies and data analytics to advance equity outcomes.

STIR Cities

STIR Cities is a National Science Foundation funded project that compares emerging smart energy and city systems in the Phoenix and Portland urban areas. Researchers are developing tools and methods to help key stakeholders understand and manage societal complexity when making technical decisions related to power grid design, while studying and interacting with experts from public utilities, planning offices, industrial operations, and national and academic research labs.

Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather Events Sustainability Research Network

The UREx SRN is a 5 year, $12 million project funded by the National Science Foundation to advance urban resilience across 9 US and Latin American Cities. CSCR Co-Director Miller is a member of the Executive Management Team, leading several research projects, practitioner engagement, and Portland-based research.

Arizona Education Modeling

This project is an effort funded by the Arizona Board of Regents in partnership with ASU’s Decision Theater and the Achieve60AZ initiative to build an interactive model to examine the current state of Arizona’s educational systems and innovate ways to improve the future health of the system.

Opening Pathways for Discovery, Research, and Innovation in Health

This project is a collaboration between patients and traditional researchers to explore the processes around discovery, research, and innovation in health and healthcare. The project is unique because it is led by a patient as Principal Investigator. The project is supported with grant funding by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Extreme Heat Research

Extreme heat is among the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the US. Electrically-powered air conditioning can reduce heat exposure and thus protect human health. Due to rising demand and more frequent severe weather, electrical blackouts have become increasingly common. The goals of this project are to estimate mortality and morbidity associated with simulated grid failure events during heat wave conditions in the cities of Atlanta, Detroit, and Phoenix in response to current and future climate conditions, and to assess the effectiveness of specific environmental changes, technological improvements, and behavioral adaptations in mitigating a growing heat hazard. Models of regional climate, building interior heat exposure, and human health effects combine to simulate human heat exposure under heat wave and electrical grid blackout scenarios, quantify heat-related illness, and evaluate the potential for individual and institutional adaptive strategies to lessen the impacts of extreme heat. The outcomes of this research will advance the progress of science through the development of a new approach to measuring indoor heat exposure and enhance national health through the testing of electrical generation, passive cooling, and behavioral adaptations to protect health during extreme weather hazards. This research further supports the development of new protocols for emergency response planning pertaining to heat risk monitoring and evacuation.

MacArthur Foundation Research Network of Opening Governance

Spearheaded by the GovLab at New York University, and made possible by a three-year $5 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as well as a gift from, the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance leverages emerging information technologies, open governance programs, and diverse public participation platforms with the goal of improving outcomes for governments and the people they serve, and making governance more effective and legitimate. Through both face-to-face and online collaboration, the research network will work on assessing existing innovations in governing and experimenting with new practices and norms for how our institutions make decisions at all governance levels.

Synthetic Empathy

Building Synthetic Empathy for Consensus-Oriented Decision Making in a Collaborative Setting is an ongoing project funded by the National Science Foundation, Social-Computational Systems at Arizona State University School of Public Affairs and Policy Informatics at Decision Theater, in collaboration with Decision Center for Desert City, School of Social Work, and W.P. Carey School of Business. This project seeks to explore collective behavior among individuals in a group setting for consensus-oriented decision making to solve collaborative problems for societal advancement.This project uses a computer-mediated synthetic environment as a deliberation space for individual participants to explore different perspectives, arrive at consensus, and make decisions for sustainable outcome under conditions of uncertainty. The interactive computer simulation model ( is a portable version of WaterSim ( This model is based on water demand and supply in Phoenix metropolitan Area, and can be used for: (1) providing a scenaric context to complex dynamics embedded in water management (specifically for urban areas); (2) exploring the effectiveness and efficiency of different water policy decisions and their impact on future water availability; and (3) exploring various challenges and uncertainty associated with human-induced climate change, urban growth, and urban developmental policies.