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Smart, Healthy Communities Initiative


Mission, Goals, Values

The Smart, Healthy Communities Initiative is an interdisciplinary effort at the University of Illinois.  


We exist to enhance human capabilities—to create safer, more equitable, sustainable places; foster better decision-making; and fuel innovation for all members.


We will achieve this mission by pursuing the following goals.

  • Developing Rokwire, an open-source software platform for mobile and other networked devices that enable the smart, healthy communities of tomorrow. 
  • Leading the effort to position campus as a test bed for smart technologies. 
  • Enabling research through the development of a privacy-preserving process that supports IRB-approved research to be conducted using the Rokwire platform. 
  • Developing a vibrant open-source community that adds to the development efforts led on campus. 


We do no harm

We assertively protect our users. We examine the potential ramifications of technologies that we create to guard against detrimental effects. This means, for example, that we: 

  • Refrain from creating technical capabilities that introduce risk to users’ personal privacy or the security of their information 
  • Build with privacy and security as a first principle 
  • Engage multiple strategies to guard users’ privacy and actively shield their data from intrusion, leaks, and disclosure 
  • Investigate any algorithms we use so as to guard against biases based on gender, racial group, sexual identity or orientation, socioeconomic group, and geographical location. 

We are daring  

We value not only new ideas but unlikely or hard ones. We are willing to try new things that others think might not work. We feel free to challenge the status quo. We push ourselves to innovate.

We use data for social good

We look for ways that data can be used to benefit individuals, communities, and society. This means, for example, that data analysis and artificial intelligence are employed to provide data in ways that: 

  • Facilitate democracy
  • Enable scientific discovery
  • Support innovations in health and wellness
  • Accelerate justice, access, and equity
  • Generate better decisions.

We put people at the center

We design with people foremost in mind. We create products to support success in people’s endeavors and goals. We are mindful of people’s limits and go the extra mile to make it easy for them to use our software. The tools we develop are intuitive and easy to use for a wide range of individual abilities, cultural backgrounds, and points of view. We believe no task should be confusing or hard to complete, no matter the ability or unique perspective of the individual using the tool. 

We seek strength through diversity

Our vision requires us to tackle challenges that no one discipline, approach, perspective, or homogenous group of people can effectively address. Thus, we welcome a diversity of approaches, methods, and viewpoints. We embrace differences in the people with whom we work, people we serve, and the problems we tackle. We seek inputs from people across different age groups and social and cultural circumstances. 

We exercise respect toward others

We act with respect toward co-workers, collaborators, clients, and the people who use our software. We listen actively and openly to other people’s ideas. We take responsibility for how we communicate. We strive for healthy, productive working relationships that allow for disagreement while fostering cooperative problem solving. 

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