The City of Savannah is a 2020 Georgia Tech Georgia Smart Communities Challenge winner. The award provides the city’s Housing and Neighborhood Services Department with a $50,000 grant to apply civic data analytics for equitable community development.
“The award will fund development and evaluation of data-driven decision tools for housing, neighborhood and community planning initiatives,” said Brian Brainerd, a senior planner for the City of Savannah and the grant applicant. “We expect the Georgia Smart Communities grant will increase our capacity to meaningfully evaluate hard-to-measure social issues to support equitable development across Savannah.”
Savannah is one of only four communities in the state to receive this recognition from Georgia Tech this year. The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge provides technical and financial assistance to help cities envision, explore and plan for a smart future.
“Through our recent introduction of REAL Savannah (Racial Equity and Leadership) initiative, the City of Savannah has already committed to identifying inequities of all kinds in our city based on data,” Mayor Van Johnson said. “This grant ensures we can implement data-driven solutions to better our city by identifying areas of economic disinvestment and social opportunity that should be considered or prioritized for community development.”
Savannah’s Housing and Neighborhood Services and Information Technology departments will work with Georgia Tech researchers Clio Andris and Omar Isaac Asensio on the project. They will also partner with the Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition, Chatham County/City of Savannah Land Bank Authority Inc., Community Housing Services Agency Inc., the Center for Community Progress, and the civic data technology company Tolemi.
“As an institution of Georgia, Georgia Tech is foremost committed to making our state better,” said Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera. “We’re very excited about Georgia Smart’s third class of winners, who will be able to use our preeminent research and technology to improve lives, livelihoods, safety, and equity — no matter their community’s size, population, demographics, or income level.”