Unveiling of Zenciti Research Unit
August 22nd, 2019 - 4:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Zenciti Research Unit, School of Architecture
LaGorce Building, Rm. 270
University of Miami’s School of Architecture and donor, Urbetica, signed a gift agreement on Thursday, May, 30, 2019 at the Colegio Nacional in Mexico City. Colegio Nacional is a Mexican honorary academy with a strictly limited membership created by presidential decree in 1943, in order to bring together the country's foremost artists and scientists, who are periodically invited to deliver lectures and seminars in their respective area of specialty.

The gift will provide initial funding to support research for designing a smart city from the ground up (Zenciti), built on the experience of leaders in urbanism and technology as a prototype of the future.

Present for the signing were: Jorge Ivan Espadas Espinosa, CEO, Jorge Solis Buenfil, Partner, Urbetica S.A.P.I de C.V. (on behalf of the donor); Joshua M. Friedman, senior vice president for Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Miami; and Rodolphe el-Khoury, dean of the School of Architecture.

“With Zenciti, we had the rare opportunity of designing a smart city in Yucatan from scratch, from urban planning and design, to smart infrastructure and services,” said el-Khoury. “The support of Urbetica, the development force behind Zenciti, now allows us to continue to research and innovate in this area, at the confluence of urbanism and technology.”

In March 2016, the University of Miami announced a hemispheric collaboration between its Center for Computational Science (CCS) and the Yucatán State Government’s Information Technologies Innovation Center known as “Heuristic“, located in the Yucatán Science and Technology Park.

Taking that collaboration a step further, the University of Miami School of Architecture, its Responsive Architecture and Design Lab (RAD-UM Lab), and CCS first came together to design Zenciti, a smart city next to the science park.

The donor, Urbetica, is driven by a deep passion to apply innovative technologies to everyday life and wants the School of Architecture to utilize its innovative knowledge and creative thinking towards the advancement of the Zenciti living lab as a smart cities platform; potentially developing in the future, into a Smart Cities masterplan.

“At Zenciti we believe that the combined efforts of academia, businesses and government allows an industrial society to change into a knowledgeable society which in turn will transform the economic development of its cities and improve the life of its citizens,” said Jorge Ivan Espadas Espinosa, CEO of Urbetica. “We believe that cities as centers of economic development have an enormous challenge and great opportunity to use technology to become more efficient, more sustainable and offer better service to its residents. Therefore, we feel great satisfaction in giving this donation to establish a fund to do research on designing a prototype for a smart city of the future. We are certain that the University of Miami’s School of Architecture is the right institution to channel its innovative knowledge and creativity in the research and design of smart cities platforms. We also congratulate the School’s decision to name the Smart Cities space at the RAD-UM Lab as Zenciti Research Unit.”