Competition offering $12,000 in prize money for technology-based solutions to promote recycling & environmental efforts in City of Buffalo
Mayor Byron Brown on Wednesday launched his second annual “Mayor’s Civic Innovation Eco Challenge – Powered by AT&T,” seeking creative solutions to promote and increase recycling rates, or other sustainability initiatives in the City of Buffalo.
"Through my ‘Civic Innovation Eco Challenge,’ we are seeking technology-based solutions or apps that will increase resident engagement in our curbside recycling program, and other sustainability efforts. It is also a continuation of my administration’s efforts to create a tech-smart Buffalo,” Brown said. “The challenge also offers $12,000 in prize money, with $7,000 going to the grand-prizewinner, in addition to the pride of creating a working app or technical solution, which will aid our continuing work toward a ‘greener’ Buffalo.”
AT&T, which was the lead partner in the mayor’s inaugural “Civic Innovation Eco Challenge” in 2018, is back again, with a $10,000 contribution.
“AT&T is proud to collaborate with Mayor Brown to host this innovative challenge again this year, because it aligns with our commitment to supporting local innovation and it showcases how municipalities can utilize mobile technology to enhance quality of life issues for its residents,” said Amy Kramer, New York president, AT&T. “As a company that is dedicated to safeguarding the environment and which works with cities across the country to implement smart cities solutions focused on reducing environmental impact, AT&T is thrilled to be involved in this challenge. I applaud the mayor for his longstanding commitment to recycling and environmental conservation and embracing how mobile technology can improve upon these already robust programs.”
City Chief of Buffalo Information Officer Dr. Luis E. Taveras said, “The future of our city in this digital world depends on our residents participation and innovative spirit. This contest provides all of our residents an ability to showcase their innovative skills, and we’re all the beneficiaries of these efforts.”
The “Civic Innovation Eco Challenge” is designed to encourage developers, designers and creators to innovate around the theme of green and clean technology. The city is seeking entries that can have a positive environmental impact on recycling, waste reduction or diversion, energy usage, water quality or usage, emissions, transportation, sustainability or a related field.
“We are looking for tools that will help our residents become more engaged in the City of Buffalo’s environmental programming,” said Susan Attridge, city director of refuse and recycling.
Entries should be an original working desktop, mobile or web app, or other technical solution or device. The City of Buffalo will leverage the winning entries to promote and increase sustainability efforts in the city and region.
“Buffalonians are creative and resourceful people and we know they will come up with some unique and creative ways to help build a more sustainable Buffalo,” said Kirk McLean, director, Open Data Buffalo.
As part of the competition, a “Civic Innovation Jam” will be staged from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the Bulger Communications Center, on the Buffalo State College campus. The event will provide a community engagement opportunity for those with advanced technical skills and those passionate about recycling and other sustainability initiatives to come together to brainstorm potential solutions.
Brown will kick off the jam with opening remarks, followed by a keynote address by Derrick Parson, founder of GRASPIE, a mobile-first learning and engagement platform for the millennial workforce. GRASPIE is participating in Launch NY and working with its first enterprise client of over 2,000 employees.
The city is partnering on the challenge with AT&T, which is contributing $10,000 in prize money. Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), a global builder and supplier of commercial geographical information systems software, which the city uses to manage and analyze its geospatial data (such as parks, district boundaries and real estate parcels), has signed on with a $3,000 sponsorship.
Other new sponsors include: Modern Disposal, the city’s recycling vendor; and Socrata, the technology firm that hosts the Open Data Buffalo portal. Each is contributing $1,000.
The top three competitors will win $7,000, $2,000 and $1,000 cash prizes, respectively. Two new prize categories have been added for this year’s challenge: “Best Use of information from Open Data Buffalo” and “Best Use of the Esri Toolbox.” Winners of those categories will each be awarded $1,000 cash prizes.
In addition to Kramer and Taveras, the seven-member panel of judges will also include: Cletis Earle, CIO, Kaleida Health; Dr. Jacquelyn Malcolm, CIO, Buffalo State College; Dr. Josep Jornet, associate professor, University at Buffalo department of electrical engineering; Justin Booth, executive director, GObike Buffalo; and Gerard Aiken, local government manager, Esri.
The “Civic Innovation Eco Challenge” runs through April 22. Following the judges’ review and winner selection, an awards ceremony will be held May 9.