Smart Cities Program

The Smart Cities Program utilizes research on autonomous vehicles (AV) to envision future urban form with AV Technologies. The impact of AV on the form and function of urban communities is a topic of interest to policy makers, public agency personnel, researchers and the private sector. The development of AV technology has gained substantial momentum in recent years. Many researchers believe that transformative changes will occur regarding the way urban mobility is delivered and on urban form when humans hand over driving tasks to automation. Exactly how and when AV and allied technologies will be fully deployed is subject to uncertainties related to technological feasibility, consumer perceptions, market acceptance and institutional and regulatory changes. Regardless of the exact timing, changes will continue to occur at a rapid pace, and will have important implications to urban form, land use and land development patterns.


In May 2017, Wei Li organized an interdisciplinary charrette at Texas A&M University to discuss future scenarios of urban development with consideration of autonomous vehicles and other components of smart and connected communities. Experts and professionals from various fields relevant to planning, design and development of cities generated ideas on the potential influences of autonomous transportation technologies on urban form and land use. 

Built on this momentum, Wei Li and his team launched the ENDEAVR Project in Fall 2018, with funding support from the W.M. Keck Foundation and Texas A&M University. It is an interdisciplinary project-based learning platform that connects students from the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) disciplines with industries and communities. 

Student projects turn technologies from the industry into smart solutions for challenges such as: 

  • Climate change
  • Transportation
  • Aging population
  • Governance
  • Economic growth 
  • Social inclusion

Program Lead

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Wei Li

Associate Professor; Founding Director of ENDEAVR Institute

979.845.2608 Email Wei Li

Recent Publications

2018,  “Vacant Urban Areas: Causes and Interconnected Factors,” Newman, Galen, Yunmi Park, Ann O’M. Bowman, & Ryan Jung Lee. Cities (2018) 72: 421-429.

2018,   “The Legislative Transformation of State-Local Relations,” Ann O’M. Bowman & Richard C. Kearney. Intergovernmental Relations in Transition, Carl W, Stenberg and David K. Hamilton, eds. (New York: Routledge,2018).

2018,  Sene-Harper, A., Matarrita-Cascante, D. & Larson, L. (2018). Avoiding the “Empty Bag”: Leveraging Local Livelihood Strategies to Support Conservation and Development in West Africa. Environmental Development. DOI:

2018,  Lee, J.H., Matarrita-Cascante, D., Xu, Y. & Schuett, M. (2018). Examining the Relationship Between U.S. National Parks and Host Communities: Understanding Community Stakeholders’ Perspectives. Sustainability 10(10): 3667.

2017,  Matarrita-Cascante, D. (2017). Moving the Amenity Migration Literature Forward: Understanding Community Level Factors Associated with Positive Outcomes After Amenity-Driven Change. Journal of Rural Studies 53: 26-34.

2017,  Pennel, C., McLeroy, K., Burdine, J., Matarrita-Cascante, D. & Wang, J. (2017). A Mixed Method Approach to Understanding Community Participation in Community Health Needs Assessment. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice 23(2): 112-121.

2017,  Matarrita-Cascante, D., Trejos, B., Qin, H., Joo, D., & Debner, S. (2017). Conceptualizing Community Resilience: Revisiting Conceptual Distinctions. Community Development 48(1): 105-123.

2017,   “Why States Join Interstate Compacts,” Ann O’M. Bowman & Neal D. Woods. Book of the States, 2017 edition, Volume 49 (Lexington, KY: Council of State Governments, 2017), 19-23.

2017, “Collective Action and the Evolution of Intergovernmental Cooperation,” Neal D. Woods and Ann O’M. Bowman, Policy Studies Journal (forthcoming) DOI:10.1111/psj.12241.

2017, “Towards a Conditional Analysis of NGO-Local Government Relations in Developing Countries,” Khaldoun AbouAssi and Ann O’M. Bowman, Perspectives on Management and Governance (forthcoming) DOI:10.1093/ppmgov/gvx012.

2017, “The State-Local Government(s) Conundrum: Power and Design,” Ann O’M. Bowman, Journal of Politics (2017) 79(4): 1119-1129.

2017, “Can You Find It on the Web? An Assessment of Municipal E-Government Transparency,” Domonic A. Bearfield and Ann O’M. Bowman, American Review of Public Administration 47 (February 2017): 172-188

2017, “Special-Purpose Authorities: A Welcomed Alien to Decentralization in Lebanon?” Khaldoun AbouAssi and Ann O’M. Bowman, International Review of Administrative Sciences (2017) 83 (3): 503-523.

2017, “Intergovernmental Councils in the United States,” Ann O’M. Bowman, Regional and Federal Studies (2017) 27(5): 623-643.

2017, “FEW: Exploring Citizens’ Support for Policy Tools at the Food, Energy, Water Nexus,” Justin B. Bullock and Ann O’M. Bowman, Environmental Progress and Sustainable Energy (2017) 37(1): 148-154.

2017, Giusti, C., He, W., Escamilla, E., Safarova, B., (2017),”Community Engagement Through Design: Collaboration with the Brazos Valley African American Museum,” National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education, 30th Annual National Conference, Fort Worth, TX.

2016, Escamilla, E., (2016) Mobilization 2 Completion: Effective Strategies to Meet Your Match; Construction Management Academies” Presented at the NCCEP/GEAR-UP conference in Washington DC.

2016, “Policy Diffusion and the Pro-Innovation Bias,” Andrew Karch, Sean C. Nicholson-Crotty, Neal D. Woods, and Ann O’M. Bowman, Political Research Quarterly (March 2016): 69: 83-95.

2016, “A Current Inventory of Vacant Urban Land in America,” Galen D. Newman, Ann O’M. Bowman, Ryun Jung Lee, and Boah Kim. Journal of Urban Design (April 2016): 21: 302-319.

2016, “Elasticity and Urban Vacancy: A Longitudinal Comparison of U.S. Cities,” Galen Newman, Donghwan Gu, JunHyun Kim, Ann O’M. Bowman, and Wei Li. Cities (October 2016): 68:143-161.

2016, Escamilla, E., Ostadalimaklmalbarf, M., & Saseendran, A., (2016), “Hispanic Workers: Identification of Factors Impacting Fatal and Non-Fatal Injuries in the Construction Industry”, The Professional Constructor. (Under Review)

2016, Escamilla, E., and Makhmalbaf, M., (2016), “Transformative Capacity Building for Skilled Workers in the Construction Industry,” The Professional Constructor. vol. 41, issue 1, pages 51-71.

2016, Escamilla, E., (2016), “A Mixed Method Approach for Development of a Project Management Planning Practices Matrix for Renovation of Historical Buildings in Urban Contexts Located in Texas,” International Journal of Construction Education and Research.

2016, Escamilla, E., Ostadalimaklmalbarf, M., (2016),”Construction Management Academy Career Exploration Program: Strategy for Recruitment of Under-Represented Minority Groups,” Associated Schools of Construction (ASC), 53rd Annual International Conference, Seattle WA.,

2016, Ferris, T., Matarrita-Cascante, D., Moreno-Centeno, E., Yates, J., Sung, K. & El-Sherif, M. (2016). Studying the Usage of Social Media and Mobile Technology During Extreme Events and their Implications for Evacuation Decisions: A Case Study of Hurricane Sandy. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 37(2): 204-230.

2016, Pennel, C., McLeroy, K., Burdine, J., Matarrita-Cascante, D. & Wang, J. (2016). Community Health Needs Assessment: Potential for Population Health Improvement. Population Health Management 19(3): 178-186.

2016, Ju, Y, Outley, C., Matarrita-Cascante, D., & Murphy, T. (2016). A Systematic Review of Recent Research on Adolescent Social Connectedness and Mental Health with Internet Technology Use. Adolescent Research Review 1(2): 153-162.

2015, Lekies, K., Matarrita-Cascante, D., Schewe, R. & Winkler, R. (2015). Amenity Migration in the New Global Economy: Current Issues and Research Priorities. Society and Natural Resources 28(10): 1144-1151.

2015, Matarrita-Cascante, D., Sene-Harper, A. & Stocks, G. (2015). Environmental Views, Behaviors, and Influences of International Amenity Migration: The Case of Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica. Journal of Rural Studies 38: 1-11. 

2015, Pennel, C., McLeroy, K., Burdine, J., & Matarrita-Cascante, D. (2015). Nonprofit Hospitals’ Approach to Community Health Needs Assessment. American Journal of Public Health e1-e11. 

2015, Escamilla, E., Bigelow, B., Ostadalimakhmalbaf, M., (2015), “Factors Impacting Hispanic High School Students and How to Best Reach Them for the Careers in the Construction Industry,” International Journal of Construction Education and Research, vol. 12, issue 2, pages 82-98.

2015, Bigelow, B., Escamilla, E., Kuecker, L. (2015), “Construction Degree Graduates: An Evaluation of Depth of Skill Understanding and Skill Priority by Construction Industry Professionals,” The Professional Constructor, vol. 39, issue 2, pages 37-45.

2015, Escamilla, E., (2015) Mobilization 2 Completion: STEM Careers and the Hispanic Population” Presented at the Texas A&M Hispanic Summit conference in College Station, Texas.

2015, Escamilla, E., (2015) Mobilization 2 Completion: Next Generation Leadership.” Presented at the Mexican American School Board Association conference in Austin, Texas.

2015, Rogers, George Oliver, Eric Bardenhagn, and Paula Lorente, under review, Limiting Disaster Assistance to Enhance Community Resilience, Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses, Resubmitted March 2015.

2015, Park, Yunmi and George Oliver Rogers, under review, Impacts of Neighborhood Design and Context on Turnover, Journal of American Planning Association, Resubmitted March 2015.

2014, Rogers, George Oliver and Yunmi Park, under review, Development Process and Neighborhood Turnover, Urban Affairs Review, submitted September 2014.

2014, Park, Yunmi, and George Oliver Rogers, 2014, Neighborhood Planning Theory, Guidelines, and Research: Can Area, Population, and Boundary Guide Conceptual Framing?, Journal of Planning Literature, 1-19, DOI:10.1177/0885412214549422.

2014, Escamilla, E., (2014) Mobilization 2 Completion: A Construction Education Recruitment Strategy Study. Paper presented at the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Inc. conference in Costa Mesa, California.

2014, Escamilla, E., Bigelow, B., (2014) Mobilization 2 Completion: Who will Construct the Future? Paper presented at the School Counselor Conference in Houston, Texas.

2014, “Policy Innovativeness and Interstate Compacts,” Sean C. Nicholson-Crotty, Neal D. Woods, Ann O’M. Bowman, and Andrew Karch, Policy Studies Journal 42 (May 2014): 301-320.

2014, “Texas Cities in the Era of Government Transparency,” Domonic A. Bearfield and Ann O’M. Bowman, Mosbacher Takeaway, Vol. 5, Issue 4, (2014).

2014, “Interstate Interactions,” Ann O’M. Bowman, pp. 47-59 in Richard Niemi and Joshua Dyck, eds., The CQ Guide to State Politics and Policy (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2014).

2014, Cortés, G., Matarrita-Cascante, D., & Rodríguez, M.F. (2014). International Amenity Migration: Implications for Integrated Community Development Opportunities. Community Development 45(5): 507-524.

2014, Bilbo, D., Escamilla, E., Bigelow, B., Garcia, J., (2014), “Impacts of House Bill 56 on the Construction Economy in Alabama”, The Professional Constructor.vol. 38, issue 1, pages 34-46.

2013, Bilbo, D., Bigelow, B., Escamilla, E., Lockwood, C., (2013), “A Comparison of Construction Manager at Risk and Integrated Project Delivery Performance on Healthcare Projects: A Comparative Case Study,” International Journal of Construction Education & Research. vol. 11, issue 1, pages 40-53

2013, Lee, J.H. & Matarrita-Cascante, D. (2013). Rethinking ‘Place’ in Tourism Development: A Conceptual Framework for Tourism Planners and Sociologists. International Journal of Tourism Sciences 13(2): 102-123.

2013, Matarrita-Cascante, D. & Stocks, G. (2013). Amenity Migration to the Global South: Implications for Community Development. Geoforum 49(October): 91-102.

2013, Matarrita-Cascante, D. & Trejos, B. (2013). Community Resilience in Changing Resource Dependent Communities: A Comparative Case Study. Environment and Planning A 45(6): 1387-1402.

2013, Winkler, R., Schewe, R., & Matarrita-Cascante, D. (2013). Lakes and Community: The Importance of Natural Landscapes in Social Science Research. Society and Natural Resources 26(2): 158-175.

2013, Lee, C., Zhu, X., Yoon, J., & Varni, J. (2013). Beyond distance: Factors associated with children’s school travel mode choice. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 45(S1): 55-67.

2013, “The Awakening–Innovative U.S. City Builders Create Real Estate Value in a Challenging New Era”, Residential Developer, April 2008, p.33. January 31, 2013 GEOFFREY JOHN BOOTH—CURRICULUM VITA Page 6 of  7

2013, “Making Connections: Performance Regimes and Extreme Events,” Ann O’M. Bowman and Bryan M. Parsons, Public Administration Review 73 (Jan/Feb 2013): 63-73.

2013, Escamilla, E., (2013) Workforce Diversity, Perception Among Construction Industry Firms. Workshop presented at the Student Conference on Latino Affairs in College Station, Texas.

2013, Escamilla, E., (2013) Development of a Construction Management Camp Focused on Construction Education Capacity Building for Underrepresented Minority Students. Paper presented at the EduLearn13 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies in Barcelona, Spain.

2013, Matarrita-Cascante, D. & Brennan, M.A. (2012). Conceptualizing Community Development in the 21st Century. Community Development 43(3): 293-305. ▪ Most read article of the journal since 2013

2012, “Are U.S. Cities Losing Power and Authority? Perceptions of Local Government Actors,” Ann O’M. Bowman and Richard C. Kearney, Urban Affairs Review 48 (July 2012): 528-546. 

2012, Matarrita-Cascante, D. & Brennan, M.A. (2012). Conceptualizing Community Development in the 21st Century. Community Development 43(3): 293-305. ▪ Most read article of the journal since 2013

2012, Rodiek, S., Boggess, M. M., Lee, C., Booth, G. J., & Morris, A. (2012). Can better outdoor environments lead to cost benefits n assisted living facilities through increased word-of-mouth referrals? Health Environments Research & Design Journal 6(2), [12-26].

2012, Booth, G.J. and Rodiek, S. (2012) Creating an enhanced return on investment in assisted living communities ICIA Developers Guide 2012, [36-42].

2011, Luloff, A.E., Finley, J., Myers, W., Metcalf, A., Matarrita-Cascante, D., Raboanarielina, C., Gordon, J., & Gruver, J. (2011). What Do Stakeholders Add to Identification of Conservation Lands? Society and Natural Resources 24(12): 1345-1353.

2011, Edwards, M. & Matarrita-Cascante, D. (2011). Rurality in United States Leisure Research: A Review of Four Major Journals. Journal of Leisure Research 43(4): 447-474.

2011, “Second Order Devolution: Data and Doubt,” Ann O’M. Bowman and Richard C. Kearney, Publius: The Journal of Federalism 41 (Fall 2011): 563-585.

2011, “Second Order Devolution: What City Managers Have to Say,” Richard C. Kearney, Jodi Swicegood, and Ann O’M. Bowman, pp. 13-23 in International City/County Management Association, The Municipal Year Book 2011 (Washington, DC: ICMA, 2011)

2011, Escamilla, E., (2011), “A Descriptive Analysis of Project Management Planning Practices for Renovation of Historical Buildings in Urban Contexts Located in Texas,” International Journal of Construction Project Management. vol. 5, issue 2, pages 87-114

2011, “Blurring Borders: The Effect of Federal Activism on Interstate Cooperation,” Neal D. Woods and Ann O’M. Bowman, American Politics Research 39 (September 2011): 859-884.

2011, Giusti, C. 2011. Poverty, immigration and Latinos in U.S. Texas colonias, in Kriese, P. and R. Osborne (eds.). Social Justice, Poverty and Race: Normative and Empirical Points of View. Amsterdam: Rodopi Press (revised and improved version of the article originally published at the Forum of Public Policy with their permission).

2011, Gretzel, U., Isacsson, A., Matarrita-Cascante, D., & Wainio, E. (2011). Teaching Based on TEFI Values A Case Study. Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism 11: 94-106.

2011, Zhu, X., Lee, C., Kwok, O, & Varni, J. (2011). Context-specific correlates of walking to school: Do they vary be neighborhoods and populations? Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 8(S):59-71.

2010, Lu, Z. & Zhu, X. (2010). An introduction of the design of long-term care facilities in the United States. Urbanism and Architecture. 7(7), 14-17. (In Chinese)

2010, Trejos, B. & Matarrita-Cascante, D. (2010). Theoretical Approximations to Community-based Tourism: Case Studies from Costa Rica. e-Review of Tourism Research 8(6): 157-178.

2010, Matarrita-Cascante, D. (2010). Tourism Development in Costa Rica: History and Trends. e-Review of Tourism Research 8(6): 136-156.

2010, Matarrita-Cascante, D. (2010). Beyond Growth: Reaching Tourism-led Development. Annals of Tourism Research 37(4): 1141-1163.

2010, Gordon, J., Matarrita-Cascante, D., Stedman, R., & Luloff, A. E. (2010). Wildfire Perception and Community Change. Rural Sociology 75(3): 455-477.

2010, Matarrita-Cascante, D., Brennan, M., & Luloff, A.E. (2010). Community Agency and Sustainable Tourism Development: The Case of La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 18(6): 735-756.

2010, Matarrita-Cascante, D. (2010). Changing Communities, Community Satisfaction, and Quality of Life: A View of Multiple Perceived Indicators. Social Indicators Research 98(1): 105-127.

2010, Matarrita-Cascante, D., Stedman, R., & Luloff. A.E. (2010). Permanent and Seasonal Residents’ Community Attachment in Natural Amenity-Rich Areas: Exploring the Contribution of Community and Landscape-based Factors. Environment and Behavior 42(2): 197-220.

2010, Oleas, C., Dooley, K. E., Shinn, G. & Giusti, C. 2010. A case study of the diffusion of agricultural innovations in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Journal of Agricultural International Agricultural and Extension Education, 17(2), 33-44. (Official refereed publication of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education)

2010, Giusti, C. 2010. Microbusinesses in Texas Colonias.Pp. 30-43 in Donelson, A. and A. Esparza (eds.). The Colonias Reader. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.

2010, Giusti, C. 2010. Colored property: state policy and white racial politics in suburban America by David Freund. 2007. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Journal of Urban Affairs 32 (5): 650-652.\

2010, “Governors Turn Pro: Separation of Powers and the Institutionalization of the American Governorship,” Ann O’M. Bowman, Neal D. Woods, and Milton R. Stark II, Political Research Quarterly 63 (June 2010): 304-315.

2010, “Expanding the Scope of Conflict: Interest Groups and Interstate Compacts,” Ann O’M. Bowman and Neal D. Woods, Social Science Quarterly 91 (September 2010): 669-688.

2010, Kweon, Byoung-Suk, Christipher D. Ellis, Pedro I. Leiva and George O. Rogers, (2010) “Landscape Components, Land Use and Neighborhood Satisfaction,” Environmental Planning B. Vol. 37, p 500-517.  (Cited by 8 as of 22 Oct 2013)

Rogers, George O. and Eric K. Bardenhagen, under revision, Natural and cultural Resource Valuation: A PlaceBased, Resource-Driven Approach” Journal of Society and Natural Resources.

Zhu, X., Ulrich, R., & Bai, X. (In press). Design for patient safety: Relationships between hospital environment and hospital-acquired infections. Urbanism and Architecture. (In Chinese.)

Song, Y. & Zhu, X., (In press). Neonatal intensive care unit design: The trend in the United States and its implications for China. Urbanism and Architecture. (In Chinese.)