Sustainability Hackathons in Chicago

Earth Data Hackathon
On Earth Day, April 22, the City asked the community to respond to two sustainability questions:

  1. What are the most important sustainability challenges facing your community?
  2. How might big data help us understand, visualize, and respond to these challenges?

These questions spurred a short-term competition to create apps and data visualizations for Chicago sustainability challenges. These applications and data visualizations addressed these two sustainability questions and built on the goals of the City’s environmental action agenda, Sustainable Chicago 2015.

Some examples of the programs coders began to develop at this event include:

  • A statistical analysis of Chicago energy use conceptualization
  • A bike rack finder app
  • A vacant neighborhood space finder and interest forum
  • A bar code scanner for recyclability conceptualization
  • A sustainability tip of the day conceptualization

Software developers and environmental innovators can also participate in future sustainability events

Over the next three months local organizations will host 2 other sustainability hackathons leading up to the Cleanweb Challenge Playoffs!  Through these events, coders can take advantage of sustainability big data opportunities to compete individually or with a team for cash rewards & City recognition! To continue to address sustainability challenges, extensive engagement opportunities will culminate in four judged competitions and over $10,000 in prizes over the next three months.

Draft calendar of upcoming Chicago Cleanweb Challenge events

Competition Date Location Awards

Wheels, Energy and Trash

August 24

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

  • Learn about sustainability opportunities for energy efficiency waste diversion, and public transit

Environmental Law & Policy Center


  • Launched in April with a design contest
    • Compete later in the Chicago Cleanweb Challenge!

Center for Neighborhood Technology


  • Hosting meetups through September
  • Competition, public forum in October

Finals: Chicago Cleanweb Challenge

Work independently – awards in October!

  • Attend office hours with City staff to learn about the sustainability issues
  • Best apps from all events present
  • Meet Mayor Emanuel, win cash prizes
  • All earlier competitions can compete, (including WBC & Earth Data hacks)

To participate in the Wheels, Energy and Trash Hackathon, please sign up here!

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