We invite industry, government, and research partners interested in the role of information technology on the city and it’s citizens to submit a proposal to present. Proposals are invited in three general areas.

  1. The Changing Nature of Civic Engagement
    New information tools have transformed many industries in the past several years, but they are just beginning to be applied to interactions between local governments and their citizens. Open data portals, citizen reporting apps, and other civic tech tools offer a new level of citizen access to government data and services. They also present new challenges around digital privacy and equal access to information.  Such tools address one of the critical issues facing local governments: how to better enable citizens to engage with their local officials in constructive, effective ways. The Citizen Interaction Design program at the U-M School of Information will present their work in designing new information services with the communities of Jackson and Ferndale. We invite presentations on all aspects of the emerging field of civic technology, particularly in supporting citizen engagement in their community.
  2.  Reinventing Municipal Administration
    In recent years, most of Michigan’s municipalities have struggled to provide services and maintain infrastructure while revenues have dipped. Meanwhile, citizens demand greater transparency, improved customer service, and efficiency. This track explores how new technology can help improve city operations and increase efficiency, including smart city technologies. It will also discuss the challenges surrounding new technology in local government: How can procurement processes be reformed to ensure vendors don’t overpromise and underdeliver? How can municipalities innovate with limited resources? How should public policy balance transparency with other goals like privacy?
  3.  New Tools for Urban Planning
    Social media, crowdsourcing, online mapping, data visualization, and advances in geographic information systems provide Michigan planners with more tools than ever to engage stakeholders, solicit feedback on proposals, and conduct analysis. From participatory mapping to planning support systems, this track will focus on how these tools can improve planning and placemaking efforts statewide.

We invite presentation proposals addressing any topic related to the conference theme. There are two formats:

  1.  Lightning Talks–A short presentation where 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (for a total of 6:40). These presentations can be insightful, provocative, or humorous, and will help set the stage for more in-depth discussions in the afternoon.
  1.  Breakout Session Presentations – A presentation describing a case, sharing research findings, discussing a new tool or technique, or simply raising an issue for discussion. These presentations may include slides or group activities.  These are 50-minute sessions that should also accommodate opportunity for audience Q&A and/or discussion.  Multiple presenters may be combined into sessions during the selection process.  

Please submit an abstract, including title and a brief description. Multiple proposals are welcome, but please submit them separately.

Key Dates

  • EXTENDED! Monday, September 19 September 9 – Submission deadline. Submit a title and brief (2-3 sentence) description for both lighting talks and session presentations. Email submissions to dstb@umich.edu.
  • Friday, September 23 – Participants notified and final schedule released.
  • Saturday, October 8 – Conference Day



This year, there will be a limited number of sponsorship slots, available to industry partners, consultants and vendors for $500. Sponsorship will include

  • an advertisement in the program
  • spaces available for vendors or consultants to share their products and services with event participants during morning registration and during the lunch hour.  

While sponsors are welcome to submit a proposal for a presentation or lightning talk, but this is not included in the sponsorship package.

Contact Scott at dstb@umich.edu for more information.