2 College of Design Researchers in Smart Communities Challenge

Two College of Design researchers are each on a winning team in the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge for 2019. The four winning communities were announced in June.

Arthi Rao, a research scientist at the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, and Ramachandra Sivakumar, a senior research engineer in the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization, will each work with a community as it prepares for the future. Both researchers also teach in the School of City and Regional Planning in the College of Design.

The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge offers Georgia communities the chance to receive funding and support that enables them to envision and plan for a “smart future.” Recipients receive funding and partnership with a Georgia Tech researcher.

Rao will consult on a project for Macon Smart Neighborhoods, Macon-Bibb County. This project will address underserved areas of the community by installing smart kiosks that will provide internet connectivity and on-demand services, according to an article announcing the winners.

“The project team will utilize data analytics to optimize the placement of smart kiosks and maximize their impacts. We will also collectively develop a stakeholder engagement strategy as well as an evaluation and monitoring plan to track equity improvements and integrate that into Macon-Bibb’s journey of transforming into a smart community,” Rao said.

She has an interdisciplinary educational and professional background in Urban Planning, Epidemiology, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Georgia Tech. Her research interests focus on social determinants of health, healthcare access, healthy communities, and spatial methods.

Sivakumar will consult on the Woodstock Smart Master Plan and Corridor Study, City of Woodstock. This project will conduct a smart corridor and infrastructure study to improve mobility and congestion in the city and deal with rapid growth and uneven commuting patterns, the article stated.

He said "the goal for this research collaboration is to envision smart mobility solutions for the rapidly growing city of Woodstock.”

Sivakumar has more than 20 years of comprehensive experience in GIS and Information Technology. His expertise includes web GIS, application design and development, network management, database management, and systems administration. His recent research focus is on enterprise GIS, urban forestry applications in GIS, and location analytics.  

Read more about all the recipients and their projects.

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  • Ramachandra Sivakumar and Arthi Rao

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Malrey Head
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College of Design