In two previous posts, I’ve highlighted initiatives by several corporations (Pepsi, GE, Philips, KFC, and IBM) to influence better design and function in cities and the services they offer. But, as I discovered after reading a tweet by Portland, Oregon’s Mayor Sam Adams, corporations aren’t the only ones stimulating innovative solutions in cities. Portland created a collaboration of local governments, city agencies, a university, and a host of local and national businesses to establish CivicApps, a challenge posed to the developer community to create useful apps using open data from the City of Portland. Various winners will be awarded a cash prize, ranging in size from $50 to $3000.
Last week, the winners of the first (of two) rounds were announced. The “Best of Show” Award and $3000 prize went to the Andy Wallace for PDX Bus, an all-purpose iPhone app for transit riders in the Portland area. Other notable apps include PDX API (an API that provides access to the CivicApps datasets) and a bike parking map. Ideas suggested for further development included using sidewalk data to improve TriMet (the Portland Metro transit agency) walking directions and submitting community-contributed datasets for use in CivicApps.
If you have ideas for CivicApps, apply now! The second round of applications is currently being collected.