My name is Meng, a new CHI fellow for 2021-2022. I am a third-year doctoral student in urban planning at the School of Planning, Design and Construction. My research has been focused on three themes: the social implications of transformative technologies, urban sustainability, and the use of computational methods to examine cities. For my dissertation, I’d like to answer this age-old question: can social problems be solved with technology advancement? I will approach this question by looking at the relationship between urban sustainability and smart city practices, such as smart mobility. I’d like to examine whether, and if so, how these applications lead to environmental, social, and economic sustainable outcomes.

I am interested in taking advantage of this fellowship to systematically review whether heritage cities have transformed with smart urbanism. My preliminary idea is to text mine the official websites of world heritage cities and present the results with an interactive map pinpointing historical cities that have launched or planned smart initiatives. Hopefully, this project will speak to a broad community by examining cultural heritage in urban contexts and connecting history with the future. This would be my first time working in cultural heritage. So please bear with me if I ask stupid questions =) I had experiences in natural heritage though. In 2015 and 2016, I spent the summers in giant panda reserves interviewing residents and counting bamboos and trees. It resonated with me when we talked about values in the world heritage definition last week – those protected mountainous areas are truly valuable and absolutely gorgeous.