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W Booth School is Proud of Results from Partnership with Hamilton’s CityLABJuly 28, 2020

CityLAB was created by the City of Hamilton in partnership with McMaster University, Mohawk College and Redeemer University as a pilot program in 2017.

CityLAB is a civic innovation program that allows city staff to share existing challenges and gain the support in developing a solution from faculty and students at one or more of the three partner institutions.

Patrick Byrne is the project manager for CityLAB, reporting directly to Hamilton’s Chief Digital Officer.  CityLAB interacts with numerous departments and schools at McMaster, and in his experience with the program he has seen the model mesh well with the practice-based model of education used within the W Booth School.

“The challenges put forward through CityLAB are real-world scenarios addressing needs of city staff. The objectives are clear, but the route to a solution is not defined. It is an opportunity for students to apply their engineering and technical knowledge to messy, real life scenarios. Students from W Booth’s programs are very much ready and primed for these types of challenges,” says Byrne.

As project manager, Byrne coordinates the relationship between city staff and institutions like McMaster, ensuring that projects move forward smoothly and on time.

At McMaster, Salman Bawa and Richard Allen manage the relationships with partners like CityLAB, engage faculty members and recruit students to provide support.

“The W Booth School has been a close partner of CityLAB since its inception. Our relationship has enabled students to apply their technical skills to practical challenges, and in doing so learn how to navigate complex, multi-stakeholder projects. This gives them highly marketable skills as professionals entering or re-entering the workforce,” says Bawa, Community Engagement Coordinator with McMaster's W Booth School.

Zobia Jawed, a faculty member with the W Booth School, has deep expertise in collaborative decision-support tools for addressing environmental issues. She has served as a faculty lead on several CityLAB projects over the years providing engineering design and policy solutions to tackle climate change and sustainability issues for Hamilton.

“I was thrilled when one of our CityLAB projects was selected to be presented to the Hamilton’s City Council to showcase the partnership between W Booth School and CityLAB. This was a unique opportunity for my international graduate students to solve Hamilton’s local issues while realizing the benefits of collaborative approach to engineering design and problem-solving in real time,” says Jawed.

Both graduate and undergraduate students with the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology have supported several CityLAB projects.

One of this year’s projects sees students and faculty working together to assess Hamilton’s corporate buildings with a sustainability lens and identify ways to make municipal workplaces more sustainable in order to meet City of Hamilton’s target for greenhouse gas reductions. Another is to review Hamilton’s tree canopy, prioritizing an increase in density for vulnerable communities that are prone to the climate change impacts coming our way.

A third project is with Hamilton Fire Services with guidance from faculty lead Tom Wanyama. The objective is to design smart infrastructure that allows connected smoke detectors and other sensors to share information with the city and identify fire risks more quickly.

We hope you enjoy this highlight video recently created by CityLAB about their 2019/2020 projects!

Appearing in the video, from W Booth School:

Students: Gurnoor Singh Gurm, Nishith Dholakiya and Ahmed Taha Qureshi
Faculty member: Zobia Jawed