Georgia Smart Hosts Community Growth Workshop

Georgia Smart Hosts Community Growth Workshop

Alyson Powell Key
April 2, 2019
A day-long workshop at the GTRI Conference Center in Midtown brought together local governments, government associations, industry, and academia to explore potential smart community initiatives as part of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge.

Georgia Smart is a one year program that supports local governments of any size within the State of Georgia by providing grant funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice, and a network of peers. Successful applicants will leverage these resources to explore, study, and plan for the use, deployment, and integration of smart community technologies into their jurisdictions and operations. Teams partner with a Georgia Tech advisor who conducts research in support of the community’s goals.

During welcome remarks, Georgia Tech Executive Vice President for Research Chaouki Abdallah said, “Researchers have become true partners of these communities and show the power and potential of collaboration.” He thanked the four inaugural Georgia Smart communities for forging a path for future program participants and demonstrating “how the intersection of people and technology can foster smart community growth.”

Representatives of the four communities – the cities of Albany and Chamblee and Chatham and Gwinnett counties – along with their Georgia Tech research partners, presented an overview of their year-long projects:

Chatham County is designing, developing, and testing a pilot sensor network for measuring sea and inland waterway levels to inform government officials and other key stakeholders of flood risk during natural disasters and storms. Georgia Tech collaborators: School of Earth and Atmospheric Science, School of Computer Science, School of Electrical Engineering, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC).

Gwinnett County is evaluating traffic management technologies for improved vehicle mobility, safety, and connectivity throughout the region. Georgia Tech collaborator: School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The City of Albany is developing an integrated portal from several government databases to drive efficiency and transparency throughout city government. Georgia Tech collaborator: School of Public Policy

The City of Chamblee is developing a shared autonomous vehicle feasibility study and concept plan to establish the framework for improving mobility and equity in the city. The project focuses on first/last mile connections to the Chamblee MARTA train station and surrounding region. Georgia Tech collaborator: School of Architecture


Randall Matthews, emergency management coordinator for the Chatham Emergency Management Agency, shows a sensor used to measure sea and inland waterway levels. (Photo: Branden Camp, GTRI) 

This summer, Georgia Tech undergraduate and graduate students will join the four communities as part of the newly-formed Georgia Smart Community Corps. The full-time, interdisciplinary fellowship is dedicated to creating livable and equitable communities through smart technology and data implementation.

A panel with representatives from Georgia Tech’s College of Design and School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), ULI Atlanta, AARP, and Georgia Chamber of Commerce discussed how smart communities can impact economic growth and how the smart cities conversation has evolved over the past five years.


Community Growth panel: Iris Tien, assistant professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Nancey Green Leigh, associate dean for research, College of Design and professor, City & Regional Planning; Jason O’Rourke, vice president of public policy and federal affairs, Georgia Chamber of Commerce (moderator); John Avery, director, Advanced Technology Development Center; Michael Watson, senior advisor, AARP Mayoral Engagement & Livable Communities; Sarah Kirsch, executive director, Urban Land Institute Atlanta (Photo: Branden Camp, GTRI)

In the afternoon, workshop attendees interested in learning about and applying for the 2019 Georgia Smart Communities Challenge participated in a hands-on proposal development workshop. Potential applicants can also learn more at an upcoming webinar on Thursday, April 11 at noon.

Proposals for the 2019 Georgia Smart Communities Challenge are due by Friday, May 3 at 5 pm; this year, Georgia Smart will once again sponsor up to four teams. Learn more at the Georgia Tech Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation website.
Additional Media: 
Angshuman Guin, senior research engineer, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Angshuman Guin, senior research engineer, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Debra Lam, managing director, Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation
Debra Lam, managing director, Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation
Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor, School of Architecture
Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor, School of Architecture

Sign up for news from IPaT