City Digital at UI LABS in Chicago innovates at the physical-digital convergence to create smart cities present and future. 

Urban infrastructure forms the backbone of our cities, our economy, and society; however, massive scale and complexity have limited our ability to monitor and improve its performance. From water security to energy burdens, from multi-modal congestion to first responder deployment, the need for creative new approaches that are effective at city scale is greater than ever. To achieve a sustainable platform for economic innovation and livability, we must be smart about how we build, update, and use urban infrastructure, which itself must become "smart" - combining new ideas in infrastructure design, materials, and management with advances in computing and data analysis.


City Digital is a Chicago-based consortium focused on data-driven urban innovation within the built environment.

City Digital, a UI LABS collaboration, uses Chicago as a testbed for technology and demonstration, focusing on four critical impact areas: Energy Management, Physical Infrastructure, Transportation, and Water and Sanitation.

City Digital, together with its public, private and academic partners, identifies programs and pilots that focus on value which can only be unlocked through collaboration and coordination of partners and data to improve the design, creation, use, interactivity and impact of urban infrastructure.

City Digital enables experiments at scale to develop real solutions for the marketplace, so that, if successful, they can continue and be extended to have impact in other cities.

Why Chicago?

Public Sector Support: City Digital’s pilot experiments at scale are uniquely enabled by a commitment from the City of Chicago to drive urban infrastructure innovation through testbed demonstration. Chicago leadership is invested in change, highlighted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s push to make Chicago the most data-driven city in the world and the City’s commitment in its 2013 Tech Plan to open its assets and infrastructure for technology experimentation.

Location: As the Midwest’s economic, communications and cultural hub, as well as a major North American transportation hub and the world’s largest intermodal port city outside of Asia, Chicago is a dynamic environment to test and drive change.

Strong Partners: Chicago is home to major industrial players, along with top-flight research universities, national labs and talent across multiple disciplines, and boasts a fast-growing startup community, particularly in the digital tech space.


A Chicago-based research and commercialization collaborative, UI LABS brings industries, universities and government together to apply real solutions to tomorrow’s most important business, economic, and cultural challenges.

UI LABS actively cultivates and channels talent and resources, fosters unbiased collaboration to bring new ideas to market, and drives economic growth and competitiveness. 


To learn more or become a partner of City Digital, please contact CityDigital@uilabs.orgTo learn more about UI LABS, including its first program, the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), please visit