Georgia Smart Expands to Enhance Alumni Work

Congratulations to Communities Continuing Project Success

April 27, 2022, 1:04pm EDT

When the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge project period ends, the work being done by community-research teams will continue. Researchers and community representatives continue to advance their smart cities initiatives in a variety of ways, including serving as a model for other municipalities facing similar challenges. The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation (Partnership) continues to support Georgia Smart alumni projects through funding and technical assistance opportunities.

The Partnership is pleased to share the inaugural recipients of the Georgia Smart Alumni Award, Columbus Consolidated Government and the City of Savannah. These multi-disciplinary, multi-university projects include faculty and students from Georgia Tech, Columbus State University, and Georgia Southern University, and will serve as a model to other communities looking to implement smart solutions to similar challenges.

COLUMBUS – In April 2022, the Columbus Consolidated Government was awarded Georgia Smart alumni funding to continue the great work from its initial program period to create a digital twin for the “Uptown” area. Georgia Tech and Columbus State University faculty and students will work together with the city to create a Citizen Safety Digital Twin, that provides Columbus with a real-time water search and rescue system that is both scalable and transferrable to other river city communities where such operations occur. You can read more about the innovative work in Columbus, including the initial program period here.

SAVANNAH – The City of Savannah will be building on its work utilizing data analytics to improve local neighborhoods. Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern students and researchers will be exploring recreational features and infrastructure (such as community centers and churches) that support a variety of relationships to create a social infrastructure map to support decision-making in the city. This project is driven in part by the desire to encourage residents to get out of their homes, socialize, engage in physical activity, and thrive in post-pandemic Savannah. Heath Lloyd, Chief Infrastructure and Development Officer, on behalf of City Manager, Joseph Melder stated,

We look forward to advancing our collaboration with the Georgia Tech research team, along with new team members from Georgia Southern University to fully develop this promising technology for inclusive urban redevelopment.

You can read more about the collaborative work in Savannah, including the initial program period here.

In addition to continued support from the Partnership, Georgia Smart alumni are being recognized both nationally and internationally for the success of their projects. The City of Valdosta and Chatham County were recently recognized for the success of their projects. In both cases, the Partnership played a small role in the initial seed investment and programmatic support for each of these projects and is excited to see them continuing their success on larger stages.

VALDOSTA – This month, the City of Valdosta was selected for a Smart 50 Award, which in partnership with Smart Cities Connect and Smart Cities Connect Foundation, annually recognizes global smart cities projects and honors the most innovative and influential work. Project member Larry Ogden from the City of Valdosta attended the accompanying conference and award ceremony.

Valdosta’s project was successful because we had a great team to work with.  We had the help and guides of the PIN staff, great Professors, student researches from Valdosta State University and Georgia Tech and last, but not least, a dedicated staff with the City of Valdosta.

– Larry Ogden, Traffic Manager

Valdosta’s project has already received great reception, being selected as a finalist for a World Smart City Award in the fall of 2021. This summer, Smart Community Corps interns will continue working with City representatives and Valdosta State faculty to build on previous project work by engaging in deeper data analysis.

CHATHAM COUNTY – As a member of our inaugural class of Georgia Smart communities, Chatham County recently secured $5M from Congress to continue the work to provide smart sea levels sensors throughout Georgia’s 11 county coastal region. The project has been successful in deploying sea-level sensors across the county, and now looks to expand its network to more communities across Georgia’s coast. Their work, rooted in community engagement, can be used as a national model for disaster response.

Together these Georgia Smart projects include researchers from four universities and represent innovative smart cities work continuing over three economic development districts in Georgia.

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