New center researching San Antonio's key urban questions

Urban Future Lab attempts to identify key city issues

SAN ANTONIO – A new research center at UTSA is addressing transportation, infrastructure planning and other key urban issues of San Antonio.

The center is called the Urban Future Lab, and it's led by assistant professor of architecture Antonio Petrov. The goal is to provide research and educational support. 

“We all know that in the next 25 years, we will have 1.4 million, about 1.4 million people moving into the region,” Petrov said. 

The lab started about a year ago. 

“We have to work with progress and process, so how that translates into true San Antonio way, how to move forward into the future and how do we design civic spaces in the future, how do we design infrastructure, think about transportation, housing,” Petrov said. 

Petrov said students have been involved in the process by facilitating real projects, including one about the Broadway Street corridor. 

“We need to definitely transform all of our urban corridors and think about resources like water, we need to think about sustainability as a larger question,” Petrov said. 

Petrov said they are collaborating with different groups, including the Witte Museum. 

“It’s really important to look at cities where culture is the center of the catalytic change in a city,” McDermott said. 

Marise McDermott, president and CEO of the Witte Museum, said the lab gets people thinking outside the box. 

“We really want to look at how vertical we should we be, how horizontal we should be? Should we take a railroad and use it and celebrate it as a railroad?" McDermott said. 

By identifying issues the city of San Antonio continues to face, officials with Urban Future Lab hope to take a leadership role in shaping physical and human environments.  

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