As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact regions around the world, municipalities must deal with businesses in trouble, communities in need, and keeping public order during quarantine.
The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, a member of the Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN), invited programmers, designers, startups, and “anyone with an idea or ability” to take part in a three-day global virtual hackathon to address coronavirus challenges faced by cities worldwide and develop technological solutions for these social and logistical issues. The hackathon takes place from April 5 – 7.
The virtual event is held in collaboration with GRCN, the city-led organization that drives urban resilience action to protect vulnerable communities from climate change and other physical, social and economic urban adversities and challenges.
The technologies developed in this hackathon could be used by Tel Aviv -Yafo and other cities around the world to save businesses from collapsing and aid the communities who need it most, organizers said.
“In these challenging times in which families spend their time at home, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality is encouraging the city’s residents and the international community to make a meaningful and empowering contribution during a period of uncertainty and address the most significant challenges we face: helping vulnerable populations, maintaining public order and helping businesses,” said Liora Schechter, CIO of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality.
“Lately, communities and cities around the world are facing a common challenge; the best way to deal with these challenges is through solidarity and collaboration, together with the Global Resilience Cities Network,” Efrat Makin-Knafo, chief resilience officer of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality added.
Tel Aviv’s BLEE Hackathons will provide the hackathon with both the virtual platform and their methodology for creating and leading hackathons for the public and private sectors. Software firm Oracle Israel will provide the hackathon’s participants with the cloud infrastructure and computers required to develop the solutions to the challenges.
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The event is divided into three challenges for participants. Each of these challenges will have webinars in dedicated blocks of time throughout the first two days of the hackathon. The challenges include:
- Mayor’s Challenge: Local Business Saver – This challenge asks participants to develop a methodology and a tool that will assess which businesses have a chance of surviving the coronavirus crisis and which do not.
- The Staying Safe Challenge – This challenge ask participants to find a solution to enlist the public to help municipal agencies maintain public order, without enforcement. This solution does not have to be technological in nature.
- The Caring Challenge – This challenge asks participants to find a solution to enlist the city’s residents in helping vulnerable population groups with meeting basic needs as well as social and active needs (conversations, companionship, keeping people active. )
Participants will have a submission deadline on the morning of April 7, the last day of the hackathon, followed by a live winners announcement that evening.
The hackathon will be judged by a panel of international judges including Lina Liakou, managing director for Europe and the Middle East for Global Resilient Cities Network, Eytan Schwartz, director of communications for the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, Khouloud Ayuti, co-CEO of PresenTense, and Piero Pelizzaro, chief resilience officer and the city lead for the H2020 Lighthouse project Sharing Cities at the Municipality of Milan.
The hackathon will also have mentors like Rinat Guy, Chief Innovation Officer of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, Hila Ovil-Brenner of the Techstars accelerator, and Ben Dali, cloud solution architect at Oracle.
“A hackathon is a natural accelerator for resilience actions, it enables the open exchange of talent and knowledge, from city to city, to develop solutions for problems brought about and exacerbated by the outbreak. COVID 19 is the challenge of our time and we are excited to support our member cities to take part in this timely global effort,” said Lauren Sorkin, acting executive director, Global Resilient Cities Network.