The majority of people around the world now live in cities for the first time in human history. This rapid urban growth creates big opportunities and challenges. The need to address them is urgent. You can shape the future of cities by using the latest technologies. Join the UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center, the UAB School of Engineering, the Alabama Media Group/AL.com, Auburn University, and Code for Birmingham, for Alabama's Global Smart Cities Hackathon and be part of one of the biggest and most exciting changes of our times!

Birmingham Skyline at nightThe Global Urban Datafest is a multi-city hackathon, a weekend of intense collaborative coding. We bring together two diverse groups. One is developers, data scientists, open hardware enthusiasts. The other includes urban experts, journalists and specialists in all other fields. Diverse teams typically produce best results. This is why we invite people of all backgrounds to participate.

This Hackathon focuses both on analyzing data and building software and hardware that uses or produces data. In every field and on any issue, there is a need to better understand what’s going on. There also are people who need new and better software and hardware to manage their work and their daily lives.

Challenges

Mobile Food Market

Much of the city is classified by the USDA as a food desert, areas with little or no access to grocery stores. In the last year, Birmingham has launched an effort to combat this problem by turning retired city buses, donated by the BJCTA, into mobile supermarkets to serve the areas of the city that need it the most. There's a lot of need revolving around this project. Programmers could develop a digital inventory system, mobile apps for citizens to order groceries, find market locations, and more.

Land Bank Mobile

The Land Bank Authority was created in 2014 to manage and eventually repurpose the 6,500 abandoned, blighted, and tax-delinquent properties in the Birmingham area. Having just launched a web-based property submission form, the Land Bank needs programmers to develop systems to help streamline their system.

Trail System Companion App

The Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System is being built. The ambitious plan, 30 years in the making, knits the infamously divided Jefferson County together with one long, walkable park from Bessemer to Centerpoint. There's a need for the city to track how much people are using the trails, monitor safety in the parks, offer feedback to those in charge, make users aware of special events, and so on.

Government Data Converter Tool

Some of the most important problems that need to be solved on a city level are not especially sexy. This is one of those problems. In order for open data policies to be useful at all, the presented data has to be machine-readable. That is, the data needs be in a form that can be understood by computers. It's only after cities have implemented developer-friendly data policies and tools that we'll really be able to make any significant progress on municipal programming.

Schedule

Friday, February 20

6:00 PM - Kick-off Reception
6:30 PM - Description of challenges to address
7:00 PM - Teams formation and project planning

Saturday, February 21

9:00 AM - Competition starts (day 1)
9:00 PM - Day 1 ends

Sunday, February 22

9:00 AM - Competition continues (day 2)
1:00 PM - Demo and presentation preparation
4:30 PM - Presentations and Judging
6:30 PM - Awards

Winning Team

Land Bank Market Place

Summary

Looking to own a home or land for less! Interested in rehabilitating your community and city! Consider buying a LAND BANK property!! A sales pitch from the city to its citizens asking them to take the march towards its development into a flourishing environment.

The success and failure of this pitch depends on the effective communication established by the city with its citizens. While an internet based platform can provide this in an efficient manner, care has to be taken in order to make the process comprehensive, flexible and easy.

Our project provides a web based platform for such a process that provides essential information about the land bank properties, like location, price, square footage, assessed damage, and enables a seamless communication between the city and interested buyers. Also our approach integrates the non-buying citizens in this process by providing them an opportunity to campaign for their neighborhood and enables the city to market their land bank properties in order to attract more buyers.

Full Description

Land banks properties are underused, abandoned, tax-delinquent ones that are made available for purchase by the city. The Land Bank Authority is established by the city to acquire these tax-delinquent properties, in order to foster the public purpose of returning land which is in a non-revenue generating, nontax‐producing status to a productive use to remove blight, provide housing, and stabilize neighborhoods for the citizens of the city.

To persuade and encourage the citizens to pursue such a noble effort, it is important to provide them a seamless process instead of burdening them with time consuming logistics and paperwork. In our project we provide such a communication through a website which provides the following:

  1. Efficient and easy identification of the land bank properties. A street address or zip code based search process is implemented along with an interactive map using Google Maps (and more specifically Google Fusion Tables).
  2. The same information is also available as a table.
  3. Specifications of the property, like pricing information which will be the current highest bid, and the assessed value.
  4. Online application form for seamlessly connecting potential buyers and the city.
  5. Important location based information like nearby grocery stores, malls, recreational areas and entertainment centers. This is achieved through the search abilities of the integrated Google Map.
  6. Possible advantages of buying a specified property. This is achieved through comments and inputs from citizens living in specific neighborhoods. These comments will be screened and categorized based on the zip code and address it came from. Along with the individual comments an overall consensus will also be posted.

For more information on the event, view the Smart Cities Hackathon video.