Technologists and NJ Municipalities Join Forces to Compete in Tech Competition

New Jersey municipalities and the technology community are working together to develop real solutions for local sustainability and public engagement issues. The first of its kind, Coding for Community (CfC) is a New Jersey-wide civic tech competition. Municipal officials have submitted more than 50 tech projects for consideration and professional and student coders, programmers and digital designers have until March 3, 2017 to register, pick a project and submit a proposal. The competition culminates on March 31, 2017 when all of the participants come together to demonstrate what they have created for an audience and the judges.

AT&T is providing $10,000 to Sustainable Jersey to use for prize money. The winning team will receive $8,000, free co-working space at two premiere locations and coaching sessions with a venture capitalist and digital marketer. Runners up will receive $4,000. Municipalities supporting the winning team’s project will receive $2,000 for the first-place team and $1,000 for the second-place team.

The Coding for Community competition kicked off on January 27, at an all-day event co-hosted by the New Jersey Innovation Institute at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark. Over 150 people came to the event to brainstorm ideas and form teams to start working on the tech projects submitted by municipal officials.

Lauren Skowronski, director for community engagement for Sustainable Jersey said, “The programming code for all submitted projects will be posted and available for anyone to adapt. We want all of our communities to benefit from the solutions created. This project is a great way to get communities together to share solutions.”  Submitted projects on the list include: a tree-map app to do a tree inventory for the City of Camden, a real-time bicycle safety app for Princeton, a smart irrigation controller for Hammonton, a school heat map app for Maplewood and a predictive flooding tool for Jersey City.

Brian Platt, the director of the Jersey City Office of Innovation said, “Governments traditionally have limited technology resources and data analysis capabilities, but typically have a high degree of need for these types of advances. Coding for Community is a way to connect towns in New Jersey with a talented pool of tech experts that can help drive transformative change through the use of technology.”

Sustainable Jersey is partnering on this project with the City of Jersey City, Code for Trenton, Code for Jersey City, Code for Princeton, OpenGov, the New Jersey Innovation Institute, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Sustainable Princeton, New Brunswick Office of Innovation and HackerNest. The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Knight Foundation are project funders.

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