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[pullquote align=”left” color=”” class=”” cite=”” link=””]“Don’t listen to me talk. Go and build something. Focus on what you’re good at and solve a real world problem”  –Steve Martocci, co-founder of Splice[/pullquote]

Communities all around the world have been working with web and app developers to make urban living better by holding competitions such as open data initiatives and hackathons. These highly innovative events help to increase awareness and understanding of the value of open data as well as its ability to provide solutions to real world problems.

Hackathons help inspire many new and novel ideas for mobile friendly communities. New apps, community projects, and even new companies have been born from them. Some of these ideas have become reality, others are still opportunities for something yet to be created.

City Property “Adoption”

What if you could maintain your own trash can, tree, fire hydrant, etc., so the city wouldn’t have to send workers to tend them? This hackathon born project would help citizens feel more invested in their neighborhoods.

City Guides

A popular idea that comes up often at hackathons is to install kiosks with information about parks, landmarks, restaurants, museums, and real-time traffic data. This could help tourists, and even locals, improve their experience in the city.

Waste Management

Pay As You Throw is a high-tech waste management system being implemented in some cities which uses RFID chips on garbage cans. The chips are read before each bin is emptied and the customer is charged by how much they’ve thrown away. This encourages people to recycle more and decrease the garbage that goes to the landfill.

Smart Solar Panels

Rooftops, building walls, even streets and sidewalks can now be covered with smart solar collector panels that can be programmed to transmit information, change color, or emit sounds, all while generating solar energy.

Bike Sharing

As we move toward a sharing economy and away from a buying one, many cities have made bike sharing available. The associated apps help you locate nearby bike sharing stations, view bike paths, and even create your own routes.

The great thing about hackathons is that they help whittle down huge ideas to manageable bites, and then take that idea from inception to product in a short time. They also inspire something important–a close-knit community.

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