The city is challenging technologists to tackle neighborhood-level issues - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Oct. 30, 2017 10:07 am

The city is challenging technologists to tackle neighborhood-level issues

NYCx will offer $20k and city support to rethink public spaces, especially in Brownsville.
NYC DOT’s Street Seat program has installed it’s ninth location in front of MGB POPS on Mother Gaston Blvd in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

NYC DOT's Street Seat program has installed it's ninth location in front of MGB POPS on Mother Gaston Blvd in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Image from the NYC DOT.

One of the most frequent criticisms of San Francisco’s tech community is that the usefulness of its products is limited and exclusionary. The ecosystem there, people (particularly founders who have moved to New York from there) say, creates technology to solve the problems of those who live there, to wit: young, white, wealthy urbanites. There are plenty of ways to make sure you don’t miss your deliveries or rent art, but there’s a perception that startups that solve problems for people outside the Stanford pipeline are fewer, or at least less visible.

That’s why a new initiative by New York City government is particularly interesting. NYCx is offering money and support for startups to solve specific neighborhood problems. Two out of the first three challenges are in Brownsville.

“Government has a responsibility to make sure these breakthroughs positively impact all New Yorkers,” the NYCx site states. “New York City’s diverse population, economy and landscape offer a unique opportunity for technology makers, futurists, and startups to develop technologies and breakthroughs that are sustainable, fair, and improve how we live in the world.”

One of the challenges is Zero Waste in Shared Space, which has the goal of eliminating litter in the neighborhood, (particularly in the shared areas of public housing), and increasing resident participation in recycling.

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“Proposed solutions can range from early-stage prototypes to market-ready products and services; however, selected solutions will be tested in Brownsville in 2018, so we’re looking for solutions that would be ready for a public test by the spring of 2018,” according to the program.

The other challenge is Safe and Thriving Nighttime Corridors. It will offer the same prize for startups working on solutions for enhancing the experience of public space at night in Brownsville, specifically in Osborn Plaza, the Belmont Ave. Business Corridor and Rockaway Avenue.

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