Program Areas

Innovate Memphis conducts programs to help solve long-standing challenges that we face in our city. Learn more about our current program areas below.

Civic Data Access

Public services and outcomes cannot improve without access to quality civic data. At Innovate Memphis, we believe data should be democratized for everyone – public and nonprofit service providers, local decision-makers, community organizers and advocates, and the public at large.

Our team has managed several open-access tools such as the Memphis Property Hub and COVID-19 Socioeconomic Vulnerability Map that pull together data from a variety of sources and agencies that users can interact with to explore trends, groups, and neighborhoods they want to focus on. We are now building a larger, more comprehensive civic data hub – Data Midsouth – that will debut to the public in 2024. We also add to public agencies’ and nonprofits’ capacity by producing quantitative and qualitative analysis to inform or evaluate their services.

However, we go beyond producing dashboards and reports, using a collaborative research-to-action framework to ensure that community perspectives guide our work and that the results lead to tangible change. Innovate Memphis serves as Memphis’ designated Urban Institute National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership site and has facilitated a quarterly Civic Data Forum with 35+ public and nonprofit organizations since 2019. By tapping into a large local and national network of experts and change makers, we are building a strong coalition of civic data champions in our community.

Digital Equity

The need to close the digital divide has never been more pressing in Memphis. As services and resources move increasingly online, we are working closely with public, private and nonprofit partners to deliver affordable broadband services, technology and digital education opportunities to Memphians who can benefit most.

In 2022-2023, Innovate Memphis worked with ER2, Memphis libraries, and local community centers to provide devices and digital literacy training to several cohorts of seniors in low-income communities. We tailored the training curriculum to be culturally responsive and adapted to each cohort’s initial skill level.

Going forward, we will continue to build partnerships and align resources to larger initiatives at the local level including the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) that provides significant discounts on broadband service for eligible households.

Food Security

Seeded by our No Kid Hungry Fellowship, Innovate Memphis seeks to improve access and coordination between service providers, food donors, and referral services so that families can keep food on the table during times of crisis.

Our work started with a food rescue landscape analysis to learn from 30+ last mile organizations, those that provide food and other types of resources directly to families, about gaps and opportunities in Memphis’ food ecosystem. We later expanded our human-centered research and design to additional nonprofits and their clients looking to access food resources.

As a result, we are now developing a new information referral tool so that service providers and clients can more quickly and easily locate nearby food resources outside of their traditional networks.

Housing and Neighborhood Conditions

Just as blight elimination leads to revitalized neighborhoods citywide, blighted properties are associated with many community challenges related to declining economic and housing markets, crime, poverty, and poor public health.

Blight has a social impact that ripples through Memphis’ schools, workplaces, homes, and neighborhoods — at worst, dissuading homeowners and landlords from maintaining their investments and discouraging investors and developers from working in core city neighborhoods.

For these communities to thrive, blighted properties must be cleaned, activated, and sustained. Our first step to address the problem of blight in Memphis is to define and measure it. We created the Bluff City Snapshot, to capture property conditions and input into our comprehensive data warehouse. Combined with layers of data from local agencies and census data, we developed the Memphis Property Hub platform to provide actionable data for CDCs, researchers, planners, and citizens to make data-driven decisions.

Parks and Open Spaces

Public parks play a critical role in cultivating a livable city infrastructure. Well-maintained and used public parks improve the environment, community health, and quality of life, as well as catalyze economic development.

Our work with Parks includes the incubation and development of the parks advocacy organization, Bloom. Additionally, we have convened public-private partnerships with Reimagining the Civic Commons. Furthermore, we have supported the City of Memphis Parks Division, including developing the City’s Parks Reservation system, establishing key performance indicators, funding research, and supporting the Memphis 3.0 comprehensive plan for parks and green spaces.

Transportation and Mobility

Transportation and mobility are essential to addressing the physical and economic well-being of residents. We work to improve the way Memphis and Shelby County develop, fund, and manage community transportation systems.

Innovate Memphis supports local and regional partners working on multi-modal transportation choices and goals set out in the Midsouth Regional Greenprint. We lead the Memphis 3.0 Transit Vision process to develop an improved transit network. Additionally, Innovate Memphis manages a Commute Options program for Transportation Demand Management and has pioneered transportation innovation, including shared mobility and Explore Bike Share. We also launched a Mobility Management program 901RideChoice to provide rides to wellness.

Discover the impact we’re making in these program areas here

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