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The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge

Posted on: Feb 22, 2018

The first statewide program to support local governments across Georgia with seed funding, technical assistance, and more as they plan and activate smart development.


The Georgia Institute of Technology and its partners are excited to announce the launch of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (“Georgia Smart”), open to all communities in Georgia. Local Georgia governments of any size—cities, counties, or consolidated city-county governments—will lead selected teams. Georgia Smart will provide seed funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice, and a network of peers. A Georgia Tech researcher will assist and advise each team and conduct research in support of the community’s needs and goals.

Georgia Smart is the first program of its kind in the United States, bringing together an unprecedented coalition of university, industry, and public-sector partners to support local governments in adopting cutting-edge technologies in their communities. The program is also unique in that it extends beyond large cities to smaller communities whose voices have not been as prominent in smart community development and who may not have access to technology resources.

“We’ve spent the past year in workshops and dialogue with local governments across Georgia to better understand their challenges and priorities. 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,” said Debra Lam, managing director, Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech.

Georgia Smart is seeking proposals in the areas of smart mobility and smart resilience. Each of the four winning teams will receive direct grant funding of up to $50,000, as well as additional funds for research and technical assistance with a required local match. Georgia Tech and its partners will then work with the winning teams throughout the year on implementing their proposals, creating four testbeds of smart community development.

The program is organized by the Georgia Institute of Technology in partnership with Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Centers for Innovation, Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), and supported by Georgia Power.

“Smart Community opportunities can help local governments and the whole region address  issues such as social justice, mobility, economic development, and many other important areas,” said Doug Hooker, ARC Executive Director. “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.”

For more information about the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, including how to become a partner or submit a proposal, visit



Alyson Powell

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology at Georgia Tech (IPaT)