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WNY Civic Hackathon powered by AT&T set to address community issues through technology

by jmaloni


Mon, Sep 21st 2015 03:45 pm

AT&T, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, University at Buffalo, dig Buffalo, InfoTech WNY and Buffalo Open Data partner to host a "hackathon" challenging teams to create innovative software and/or hardware solutions that will serve the community

WNY Civic Hackathon powered by AT&T, the first ever daylong "hackathon" dedicated to solving local civic issues in the region, will challenge teams to faceoff to deliver the best civic technological solution in a 13-hour period for the following local issues: housing/property blight, transportation and advocacy/public policy.

Cash prizes totaling $3,500 will be awarded, with a grand prize of $2,000, followed by a second-place prize of $1,000 and $500 for third place.

The WNY Civic Hackathon will take place from 9-101 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, at dig Buffalo, 640 Ellicott St., Buffalo. Demoing, judging and awards will take place at dig from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, Oct. 11. Partnering to put on the Hackathon are: AT&T, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, University at Buffalo's association for computing machinery and office of science, technology transfer and economic outreach, dig Buffalo, WNY Innovation Hot Spot, InfoTech WNY and Buffalo Open Data. The event builds off the success of the AT&T WNY Civic App Challenge in 2014, a two-month "virtual hackathon" in which developers were encouraged to "Solve Local" by building smartphone apps that serve the community.

During the hackathon, teams of local developers, makers, innovative thinkers, entrepreneurs, technologists and community activists will compete to create intuitive and novel apps or hardware that address and provide solutions for social and civic issues in the Western New York region.

All submissions will be judged on their potential to impact on one of the three topics facing Western New York, the quality of execution and creativity or novelty. A panel of judges made up of local tech experts, community leaders and elected officials will judge the submissions and determine the winners. Mentors from the regional tech and advocacy community also will be available throughout the day to provide advice and guidance to the hackathon teams. Subject matter experts on housing/property blight, transportation, and advocacy/public policy will be in attendance to discuss the issues and provide available data that can be used.

The WNY Civic Hackathon follows the same principals of National Day of Hacking, an annual event that brings together urbanists, civic hackers, government staff, developers, designers, community organizers and anyone with the passion to make their region better through technology. Similar to National Day of Hacking, this event provides opportunities to get people involved in civic hacking, a new form of civic engagement, and many of the activities are based on proven models provided by Code for America, Random Hacks of Kindness and Innovation Endeavors. Teams will collaboratively build new solutions using publicly released data, technology and design processes to improve the community and the governments that serve them.

The WNY Civic Hackathon is free and open to all interested participants across the region of all skills and levels of expertise who are ages 18 and over. Preregistration for the event is required by Oct. 5 at Evenbrite (http://www.eventbrite.com/e/wny-civic-hackathon-tickets-17039321068). There is a 200-participant cap, so early registration is recommended. Meals and snacks will be provided throughout the day.

For more information regarding the WNY Civic Hackathon visit, wnycivichack.com.

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