The Next Century Cities team was thrilled to showcase its Benton Next Generation Engagement Award winners at the Broadband Communities Summit in Dallas, Texas yesterday.

The early morning hour – we took the stage at 8am – couldn’t keep a crowd away to hear from our inaugural Benton grantees. Representatives from Austin, Texas, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Louisville, Kentucky presented their progress implementing their projects.

Catherine Crago Blanton of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin explained how their Digital Ambassadors connect low-income housing authority residents to the internet and improve their access to transportation at the same time. She shared insights into how her team is building support across city departments and generating private sector sponsorship to expand the program.

Perver Baran of North Carolina State University demoed the InVision Raleigh application that her team of student coders is developing in partnership with city staff. The application is still in development, but once it is complete, community members will be able to visualize – and give feedback on – proposed development downtown.

Chris Seidt gave the audience a sneak peak of Louisville’s Gigabit Experience Center. He described the digital inclusion and economic development initiatives that will be possible there once the Center launches next week. Among them, students will have access to a summer “Cyber Camp” to teach coding skills.

“Our Next Generation Engagement Award winners are visionaries at the vanguard of civic technology and digital inclusion. I am delighted to share their stories at the Broadband Communities Summit, where we launched the Award last year,” said Next Century Cities Deputy Director Todd O’Boyle.

Be sure to check out all our coverage of Next Century Cities’ participation at the 2017 Broadband Communities Summit! Read about the winners of the 2017 Digital Inclusion Leadership Award who were announced at the Summit here.