Some Cities Don't Need Corporate Sponsorships

Portland, ORIn 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.

-Terra Curtis