CNT’s 3rd Urban Sustainability Apps Competition Creates Pocket-Sized Solutions to Big City Issues

For the third straight year, CNT paired community leaders and mobile developers to create apps that tackle the challenges of urban living. On Saturday, June 28 at TechNexus, 80 participants and guests joined forces at CNT’s 2014 Urban Sustainability Apps Competition to produce 13 apps that connect Chicago residents to crucial information, like environmental data and crime reporting, that can make urban neighborhoods safer and more sustainable.

The winning app, Chicago Green Score, uses open data to visualize Chicago’s environmental assets and dangers. Users can input an address within the City of Chicago to see a score between one and 100 based on criteria like access to transit, bike share, farmers markets, alternative fuel options, and more.

“The judges chose Chicago Green Score because they liked the tool itself and its potential for both expansion and sustainability as a business,” said Edward Oser, CNT’s apps competition organizer.

Tied for second place were FedUpLoad, which improves communication between food pantries and their donors, and Village Pulse, which allows Little Village residents to upload anonymous crime data in real time.Chicago Wood Exchange won third place, with an app that prevents wood waste by connecting artisans to timber created by the felling of ash borer-infested trees.

CNT’s Urban Sustainability Apps Competition began in 2012 as a response to the explosion of the tech sector in the American economy. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary engagement in tech development.

“The tech industry is not a very diverse place in terms of income, ethnicity, and gender, but there are really vast markets in America for tech products and tech tools that aren’t really being served,” said Oser. “Our idea was to get a bunch of community people together and get a bunch of tech people together and build some apps that address real-world issues.”

In lieu of prize money, the winning teams are provided with access to incubation space, consultations with relevant business contacts, and technological tools designed to help the teams expand their businesses.

“The Apps Competition is a tool for engagement, for creating a space where people can engage with others from wildly different backgrounds,” said Oser. “There’s a market for this, and we’re really just scratching the surface.”

Judges for the 2014 Urban Sustainability Apps Competition:

Dionne Baux, Program Manager, LISC Chicago

Emile Cambry, Jr. – Founder, Blue1647

Adam J. Hecktman – Director of Technology & Civic Engagement, Microsoft

Lisa Holt – Director in Public Sector Industry Business Unit, Oracle

Corey Marshall – Director, Splunk4Good

Brian Tolliver – Director of Strategy and Business Development, Schneider Electric

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