A new program will help local governments across Georgia plan and implement smart development.
Georgia Tech is leading the effort that brings together industry and public agencies to support communities in their efforts to implement cutting-edge technologies.
The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge is open to large cities and smaller towns, which have not been as prominent in smart development because of a lack of access to resources.
The program, also called “Georgia Smart,” will provide seed funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice and a network of peers. A Georgia Tech researcher will advise each team and conduct research in support of their needs and goals.
“We’ve spent the past year in workshops and dialogue with local governments across Georgia to better understand their challenges and priorities,” said Debra Lam, managing director, Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. “From these communications, we developed a program that is sensitive to the local context while fast-tracking smart communities. We aim to create more models for smart development that can be shared and applied across the state and beyond.”
Georgia Smart is seeking proposals in the areas of smart mobility and smart resilience. Applications are due May 1.
Local Georgia governments of any size — cities, counties or consolidated city-county governments — will lead selected teams. Each of the four winning teams will receive direct grant funding of up to $50,000, in addition to a required local match.
Georgia Power is the lead sponsor of the program, with additional financial support from the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Additional partners include: Association County Commissioners of Georgia, Georgia Centers for Innovation, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Municipal Association, Metro Atlanta Chamber and Technology Association of Georgia.
“Creating a better-connected Georgia requires research and collaboration from many stakeholders across every layer of the public and private sector,” said Christine Primmer, strategic manager of the Georgia Power Smart Cities initiative. “We are proud to be a leading partner in the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge as one component of our larger commitment to improving every community we serve while also building the future of energy with a more reliable and adaptive power grid.”
Smart community opportunities can help local governments and the entire region address multiple issues including mobility and economic development, said Doug Hooker, executive director, Atlanta Regional Commission.
“Community initiatives can be more successful through collaborative, people-focused approaches, and those qualities are what make the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge an important effort for the region,” Hooker said.
A series of workshops and webinars will take place in March and April, including an April 9 event on campus, to assist communities with the application process. Each team is required to send at least one representative to at least one of these events.
For more information about the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, click here.