Director, Urban Tech Hub
Director, Urban Tech Hub
Director, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute
Urbanist in Residence
Senior Urban Tech Fellow
Urban Tech Coordinator
The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech established the Urban Tech Hub in 2019. The Urban Tech Hub was made possible by a generous gift from Stephen M. Ross, philanthropist and Chairman of Related Companies, as well as the Julis Rabinowitz Family who provided support for the necessary research and scoping to ensure the hub meets industry needs.
As part of the launch, Cornell Tech announced a new dual master’s degree program: the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Dual Master of Science Degrees with a Concentration in Urban Tech. The inaugural class of the Urban Tech concentration matriculated in Fall 2020.
In September 2019, the Urban Tech Hub co-hosted a conference with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Empire State Development Corporation at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan. The conference continued Cornell Tech’s collaboration with the MTA earlier this year, which averted a shutdown of the L train so dreaded that New Yorkers dubbed it the “L-pocalypse.”
In March 2020, Michael Samuelian became the Founding Director of the Urban Tech Hub. Samuelian’s prior private and public sector leadership roles on projects throughout New York included the reactivation of Governors Island, rebuilding Lower Manhattan, and the development of Hudson Yards.
Of the appointment, Greg Morrisett, the Jack and Rilla Neafsey Dean and Vice Provost of Cornell Tech, said, “Throughout his career, Michael has transformed grand visions into real-world solutions, which is what we challenge our students to do every day at Cornell Tech. From re-envisioning Lower Manhattan after 9/11 to developing an entirely new neighborhood over a railyard, Michael’s ability to direct bold initiatives while creating benefits for all New Yorkers will be an inspiration to our students.”
Before the establishment of the Urban Tech Hub, Cornell Tech’s work in urban tech was already well underway. In 2019, more than a dozen teams of graduate students worked on urban tech challenges from companies in the Product Studio course. In partnership with ARUP, the MTA, the New York City Mayor’s Office, the City of Holyoke, and many more, students have developed new technologies in response to questions such as these: “how might cities reduce gas consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as we move towards a renewable future?”; “how might we improve access to transportation for people with special needs?”; and “how might we enhance safety for domestic violence survivors in their homes and communities?”
The Jacobs Institute’s Runway Startup Postdoc program, which works with recent PhD graduates to turn deep research into startups, had also spun out four urban tech companies by 2019, including Maalka, a data management platform to ensure buildings are meeting their ambitious adaptability goals, and OnSiteIQ, which provides 360-degree visual monitoring of construction sites developed by experts in machine learning and computer vision.
The launch of the Urban Tech Hub was made possible by a generous gift from Stephen M. Ross, philanthropist and Chairman of Related Companies.
No other institution is better positioned to lead the urban technology transformation than Cornell Tech.
The Jacobs Institute fosters radical experimentation at the intersection of research, education, and entrepreneurship. Established jointly by Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Jacobs Institute mission is to transform key industries through technological innovation, deep-tech startups, and uniquely skilled talent.
Cornell Tech is Cornell University’s groundbreaking campus for technology research and education on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Our faculty, students and industry partners work together in an ultra-collaborative environment, pushing inquiry further and developing meaningful technologies for a digital society. Founded in partnership with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the City of New York, Cornell Tech achieves global reach and local impact, extending Cornell University’s long history of leading innovation in computer science and engineering.