Stantec has released a new digital Idea Book of strategies to tackle the future of city planning. These strategies were recently developed at their first Idea Hackathon, hosted in partnership with The Globe and Mail’s Globe Content Studio and Hackworks.
More than 50 participants across the public and private sectors and academia were invited to tackle the hackathon’s challenge statement: How can we use technology to ensure Toronto is a thriving, livable, and resilient city for all? The event brought together teams of industry professionals, students, and city residents over a two-day forum.
“We had so many amazing people attend the Hackathon,” said Nancy MacDonald, Stantec vice president and smart cities lead. “I saw great ideas about resilience, mobility, and welcoming newcomers. These participants are people who want to take city-building to the next level.”
Ten teams brainstormed ways to use technology to make Toronto a more livable city for a prize package valued at $5,000.
The first-place winners PowerWalk, proposed a way to use piezoelectric technology — kinetic floor tiles that capture energy generated through footfall — to better collect pedestrian mobility data.
Stantec states that this data could improve mobility by quantifying footfalls. Government agencies could also use this data to better quantify the economic impact of pilot projects, quantify fare evasion, and evaluate lighting needs for urban trails.
“I’ve participated in hackathons in the past, but none quite like this before,” said Melissa Morgan, a Toronto-based creative consultant and member of PowerWalk. “It was a very selfless endeavor – to have the smartest professionals across Toronto get together to create something that betters the community.”
In second place, the 3WeeksOld team devised a social networking platform that connects Toronto newcomers in real time and helps them find jobs, housing, banks, schools, and healthcare providers.
The team behind Litmus took third place with their imagined network of sensors across the city to measure climate data – the kind of data that can contribute to cost-savings, climate resilient city planning, and development.
Participating organizations included Alectra Utilities, Allied REIT, City of Toronto, CreateTO, CUTRIC, Evergreen, Enwave, Habitat For Humanity, IBM, Infrastructure Ontario, MaRS, Microsoft Canada, Miovision, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Siemens, Toronto Regional Conservation Authority, Tridel, University of Toronto, and more.
“Hackathons provide an opportunity for a collision of ideas from people of different backgrounds that ultimately generate fascinating new ideas,” said Kevin Magee, National Director of Intelligent Cloud Emerging Technologies at Microsoft Canada, and a speaker at the event. “The hackathon format, and what Stantec has set up here, is more conducive to actually getting things done than a traditional conference model.”