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Innovation Team – Our Work

Fostering Neighborhood Vitality

parklet_web2Peoria’s Historic Neighborhoods
What makes a neighborhood an attractive place to live, shop, and play? The i-team’s 2017-2018 priority of Neighborhood Vitality is focused on answering this question. Months of human-centered research put the team on the ground talking to residents, workers, and business owners in a variety of Peoria’s historic neighborhoods. While some of the commercial corridors in these neighborhoods use to be hubs of economic activity, spaces now sit vacant and unused.

The i-team is exploring what sort of initiatives can be launched to turn the tide in Peoria’s neighborhoods by encouraging neighborhood scale economic development. Stay tuned to discover what the team will be working on in this space.


Help Shape West Main

Tactical Urbanism

Small Scale Development

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Tackling the Combined Sewer Overflow

The Community Benefits of Green Infrastructure
In Peoria, the i-team initially focused on the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) issue. Combined sewers carry both sanitary wastewater and stormwater. When rain or snowmelt overwhelm the system, around 20 to 30 times a year, the combined sewers overflow into the Illinois River. The Environmental Protection Agency has mandated that the City remedies this issue.

peoriacorps_imageeditedThe i-team identified ways for Peoria to leverage the tremendous expense of solving the CSO problem while simultaneously improving the lives of residents in these areas through such means as job creation, sustainability, and reinvestment. The plans target measurable improvements to public safety and health by using green infrastructure as part of a “complete streets” network that considers all users of the road. The goal is to make streets more walkable, bikeable and accessible to people with disabilities as well as safer for automobiles. This will provide such benefits as safer and more pleasant routes to school for children or simply for residents to get from place to place. To find out more about the CSO problem and the work that is currently underway, please visit www.peoriagov.org/wetweather. To learn more about the i-team’s approach to the CSO problem, take a moment to read this article from the January 2016 edition of InterBusiness Issues.


The Well Farm at Voris Field

Complete, Green Streets Pilot Project

Walk the Block


A Natural Fit

Green Your Block

Street Tree Program and Municipal Nursery

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Building a Smart City

IMG_6278How can we leverage technology, data, and city-wide collaborations to improve the quality of life in Peoria?
This is the guiding question that the i-team considers as it explores what it means for Peoria to be a Smart City.

The i-team is investigating how smart city efforts could help city initiatives better impact peoples’ lives. We’re working with Salt Flats Labs, University of Illinois research teams, and the Smarter Illinois program through the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DOIT) to explore how to make Peoria a “smart city.” When it comes to physical hardware, smart city technologies rely on the Internet of Things (IoT), a term that represents devices such as streetlights, cameras, vehicles augmented with sensors and cell signals, thermostats, or something we already have: apps that help you pay for parking downtown. The i-team is considering how the City of Peoria can leverage IoT to make Peoria smarter in managing resources, maintaining our infrastructure, and fostering neighborhood economic vitality.

Open Data
Physical devices, processes, and people generate countless data sets that are used on a regular basis by City staff and our external partners. How can we design digital infrastructure so that this data is easy to access and make sense of? The i-team has conducted extensive research on open data platforms, policies, and processes to examine how Peoria could push open data to the public. In August of 2017, the City hosted a Civic Hackathon to begin testing these ideas and to gather feedback from the community.


Peoria Civic Hackathon

Smart Parking Experiment

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