How Peachtree Corners’ Curiosity Lab Is Creating a Blueprint for Sustainability and Mobility

By Jim Frazer

Technology Trends

Peachtree Corners, Georgia is a vibrant suburb of Atlanta and is one of the first cities in the U.S. to be powered by government-owned smart city connected infrastructure and 5G. The forward-thinking municipality, which is home to some of the world’s most disruptive technology developers and serves as the heart of what’s being referred to as “Silicon Orchard,” began to embrace a leadership position with regard to smart cities in America, (which includes establishing its “Curiosity Lab” incubator ecosystem) originally as an economic development initiative that has since transformed Peachtree Corners into a premier innovation hub of the southeast United States. It serves as a blueprint of how to build out a “city street of the future” and more complete smart city ecosystems in the U.S. specifically. Peachtree Corners exemplifies how to optimally create and nurture deeper partnership between the government/public sector and the private sector/technology industry/business to make the smart city vision a reality.

Join Brandon Branham, CPM, Peachtree Corners' Assistant City Manager/Chief Technology Officer for an enlightening discussion on these fascinating efforts

Listen in here:



Here's a short snippet of the conversation:

Jim Frazer - Welcome again to another episode of the Smart City Podcast. Today I'm thrilled to be joined by Brandon Branham, the CTO of the curiosity lab and assistant city manager of Peachtree corners GA. Welcome, Brandon, how are you today?

Brandon Branham - Wow, thanks for having me, Jim.

Jim Frazer -All right. Hey, it's great, great to have you. Let's jump right in. Let's just get started with can you tell us a little bit about yourself about your organization and how you came to this interesting space?

Brandon Branham -Yeah, thanks. Actually not a native Georgian. So originally from Kansas go chiefs there that it's it is football season. But been in local government 16 years now going on 17. Starting in the actually the new city movement in Georgia, back in 2005. We saw a movement in Georgia for new city creation from local getting more local control for your residents and so started in city of Sandy Springs just to the west of us here in Peachtree corners and then when the city of Peachtree corners came into incorporation in 2012 had the opportunity to come over and start the city from ground zero.

Brandon Branham -So I've been here since the beginning. You know very fortunate to be in a place like Peachtree corners because really unique history was created developed in the late 60s early 70s by Georgia Tech grad turned developer who got tired of seeing the brain drain leave Georgia for high tech jobs. So it came way out here we're about 20 miles north of downtown Atlanta, started speculatively building Georgia's first technology office park to recruit technology companies and very successful, huge history and innovation. The modem, the Hayes modem was actually invented right here in Peachtree corners, the color printer, and Scientific Atlanta, which is now Cisco was founded five buildings down from where I'm sitting right now. So I have this really rich history of innovation.

Brandon Branham -Fast forward a few decades Peachtree corners Incorporated, we started getting operational legs under us from providing services, and started looking at ways to drive business and economic development growth and wanted to lean on that history of innovation as kind of our path. And so when did our research went out to the market and said, what's missing out in the technology world and led us was kind of that intermediate step for the growth and scale of technology. There was lots of good close glass courses and testing facilities, you have one in Florida Suntrax, we mentioned that one in Sydney, up in Michigan, a few of those, but there wasn't a good intermediate step for this technology to take place before it scaled into like a really urban place like New York or Austin or Dallas.

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