Sat. Oct. 20, 2018

Savannah Civic Center

What is CityCampSavannah?

It's your turn to get an actual seat at the table.

Government and community members never have a chance to talk, think and work together in a safe place––we’re either angry at a City Council meeting or frustrated at a regular City town hall meeting where we don’t all get to talk to each other. CityCamp is the one chance to talk and think through ideas as equals - city staff and community members all have great ideas and valid concerns, what happens when we all get together at CityCamp? Awesomeness.

Organized by and for resident volunteers of OpenSavannah working in collaboration with public servants, CityCamp aims to bring together civic leaders, concerned citizens, elected officials, journalists, nonprofits, business leaders, youth, everyday residents, and all of Savannah's collective action for a day of solutions-building to answer the underlying question:'What do we want to create together for the future of our city?'

As an unconference style event, participants – that means you! – set the agenda for the day through lightning talks, leading breakout sessions, and posing questions. We'll be using the annual budget as a focus point for the day's discussion.

CityCamp aims to serve as an inclusive and equitable forum for public dialogue in a safe space, where city employees and elected officials are peers with residents.

Learn how the city budget works

At 266 pages, the city's annual municipal budget isn't exactly easy to understand. Luckily, Melissa Carter, Director of City of Savannah's Budget Management Department, will host a "Budget 101" workshop distilling the allocation process for us in plain language.. You'll also have a chance to pose new ideas to the entirety of City Council and at least one representative from all of Savannah's various departments.
Explore Budget

Let your voice be heard

With 14 lightning talk opportunities and 6 breakout sessions – all pitched, voted on, and led by residents – CityCamp is your opportunitiy to weigh in on issues of importance to *your* community for the 2019 city budget. If you feel like your voice hasn't been heard in the past or if city spending hasn't reflected your community's values, this is your chance to have your voice be heard in a civil environment.

Create your own ideal budget and have your feedback be counted

The last part of the day, we'll conduct an interactive budget simulation, both collectively to spark discussion and individually using an app built by OpenSavannah volunteers. All responses will be counted and displayed live, and later reviewed by the City as part of its decision-making process for the 2019 budget.

It's your city. You set the agenda.

Give a Talk at CityCamp

CityCamp Outline of Events

As an unconference-style event, the beauty of CityCamp is that participants set the agenda. That means you! So, consider leading a breakout session or thinking of a lightning talk in advance. Alternatively, sign up to join the Steering Committee or the Planning Committee.

Help Lead CityCammp

Sponsor CityCamp

CityCampSavannah is being hosted by OpenSavannah, a local nonprofit organization that uses the principles and practices of the digital age to improve how local government serves the public, and how the public improves local government.

View Sponsorship Prospectus

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? No worries! If they're not answered here, simply shoot an email to

OpenSavannah, an all-volunteer civic organization dedicated to making local government work in the 21st century, is hosting CityCamp as its seminal fall civic engagement event. While in-kind use of Savannah Civic Center is provided by the City of Savannah, CityCamp is entirely autonomous from the City itself, and seeks to establish itself as a neutral, safe-space for city and citizens to have productive dialogue focused on the future of Savannah.

Absolutely not! All ages are invited to attend, especially adolescents! The only caveat, however, is that we will unfortunately not be able to provide childcare services on site, as it is a liability to do so on City-owned property.

A broad cross-sector of Savannah's 2,468 full time employees will be represented at the event, with representatives from all City service departments on hand to answer questions and clarify any points of fact In addition, City Council, Mayor Eddie DeLoach, and the entire Budget Management Office will be present. That said, aside from Melissa Carter of the Office of Budget Management, who will deliver a morning talk on the budget, no city officials will be treated any differently than other attendees. At CityCamp, we acknowledge that we are all Savannah residents, and that we all have equal voices in determining our city's future.

To join the Steering Committee, fill out the application form no later than Oct. 9, 2018 at 5 p.m. EST.

Parking will be available for all attendees commuting by car. If traveling via public transportation, you may catch either the purple (#14) line CAT bus or the red (#25) bus to drop you off at the Montgomery and MLK stop, right next to Savannah Civic Center. You may also catch the free Purple CAT Trolley from anywhere in the Landmark District.

Under the advisoryship of project lead Terri-Thornton Davis and Brigade Captain Carl V. Lewis, a steering committee composed of residents and public servants is currently being recruited to oversee the event and ensuing public feedback period is equitable, civil, productive dialogue. We aim to make CityCamp different from most public feedback type events. It won't be just another gripe fest with public servants and residents yelling at one another.

Coco Papy, Community Director of The Creative Coast, will be serving as the chief moderator for the event. In addition to serving on OpenSavannah's advisory board, Papy has facilitated large-group meetings in a variety of capacities in her years as a community organizer and political activist, with an eye toward keeping discussion focused, productive and civil. In keeping with OpenSavannah's core values, Papy deploys a number of strategies to ensure that discusssion is equitable and representative of all concerns, and not just a podium for those who yell the loudest.

CityCamp is being organized by, for, and with everyday residents. It's not a top-down initiative or last-minute-announced forum held merely to satisfy state requirements for public participation in budget proposals. It's not just performative in nature. While we can't ensure that all budgeting priorities residents bring to the table will be included in the 2019 budget, we will ensure that all voices get heard. In addition, we will post all results from in-person feedback, from the web app, and from text-message surveys online in an accessible format for residents and leaders alike to draw insights from.

We need everyone at the table for CityCamp for it to be a success. If you represent a community organization, neighborhood association or any nonprofit group working in the City of Savannah, including clubs and faith-based institutions, we invite your organization to co-host CityCamp with us. By co-hosting, we'll include your logo or group name in the event guide, on the event website, and indicate your affiliation on all members' namebadges. In addition, we'll ask your input as we decide on the specifics in the days leading up to the event. In return, all we ask is that you participate and, if you like, offer up your hands and volunteer to help out in running CityCamp.

Venue Details

CityCampSavannah will take place at Savannah Civic Center on Montgomery St. in downtown Savannah. The morning breakfast will begin in the Upstairs Main Ballroom. Parking will be available.


Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Ogelthorpe Ave., Savannah, Ga. 31401