Past Tech Challenges

Our past Challenge participants have taken on a broad array of issues, from urban vacancy and retail leakage to food deserts and the digital divide.

CNT’s previous Tech Challenges brought people across Chicago together to identify urban sustainability issues and devise community-driven solutions. In 2015 and 2016, participants competed in hackathons to create sustainability-focused, community-centric apps such as Purshable, an app that reduces Chicago food waste by building demand for close-to-expiration food that grocery stores typically throw away.  

In 2017, CNT’s Tech Challenge evolved from these app-developing contests to an extended project format in which a large cohort collaborated to target one urban sustainability challenge. The 2017 group, made up of 14 volunteers supported by their community members and various technologists, tackled the problem of vacant urban manufacturing land. The cohort presented a solution called ReLand that helps identify and score available industrial sites for urban development, scoring them for sustainability measures such as transportation access, proximity to a workforce, and environmentally-friendly shipping options. Learn more about the 2017 Challenge and the cohort’s findings, which were presented at CNT’s Sustain-a-City event on September 28, 2017.  

Learn more about all of our 2016 Challenge

The 2016 Sustain-a-City Celebration highlighted the 2016 Challenge:


Learn more about our 2015 Challenge