While back in Michigan this summer a good friend and supporter from Austin, Keith Casey, brought to my attention to this contest that aims to make Detroit a better city through technology. It was exciting to hear about a push for technological innovation in a city so close to my home in Flint, Mi. After researching their website I found the Apps for Detroit challenge is part of a larger effort, The Code for America Challenge, that I’ve a lot about during my time at UT-Austin. The Detroit challenge lasted 2 weeks, during which teams or individuals were prompted to create a technology to innovate within three sectors: Tech/Business, Civic/Government and Media applications. The winner earns a trip to San Francisco to work with technology experts at the Code for America office, first runner up gets set up with lunch with Detroit city leaders and third place gets an Internet Goodie Basket.
This year’s winner, ARTown, is an app that allows you to digitally browse all of Detroit’s art from museums to graffiti in an intuitive interface. It was created by the development team at Entrega Systems Group, consisting of 10 developers. Second place went to an aggregator of local bus routes, parks, libraries and rec centers easy to access called MyCity – Detroit. Third place is my kind of solution. The DDOTinfo kiosk takes real time public transportation data and displays it on a inexpensive digital display that can be implemented at bus stops. Hopefully next time I’m in Detroit I’ll be watching the location of my next bus on a DDOTinfo Kiosk.
Technological applications like these are going to restore the prosperity of beaten cities like Detroit. These applications make city life more manageable and convient while also being economically affordable for the city. For more information on the Apps for Detroit Challenge visit their website: http://appsfordetroit.org/