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City of Seattle Invites Civic Hackers to Take on Challenges of Aging

Image courtesy Linnea Westerlind, Year of Seattle Parks

The City of Seattle invites data scientists, developers, designers, urban planners, and anyone with an interest in aging and accessibility to A City for All hackathon September 22-24. At the event, teams will have an opportunity to work together to address issues affecting the young and old of all abilities in our community. The event, which is organized by City of Seattle’s Information Technology Department (Seattle IT) as part of the Age-Friendly Seattle Initiative and the National Day of Civic Hacking, will take place in the Bertha Knight Landes Room in City Hall.

“Our city is made better every day by the ingenuity and compassion of our community members,” said Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller. “By bringing together technology innovators with experts on what makes a community age-friendly, we can imagine new ways to improve quality of life for residents of all ages and abilities.”

As part of the hackathon, the City is preparing to release several new open datasets that offer insights into how the City supports residents as they age. These include information on the Aging and Disability Services from the Human Services Department, data on participation in the Parks Department’s Lifelong Recreation, and usage of homeowner assistance programs from the Office of Housing. Expert mentors from across City departments and local nonprofits will be on-site to guide teams as they begin to design their solutions on Friday evening.

“As a City government, we are committed to transparency and community engagement as we work to solve our shared problems,” said Jim Loter, Seattle IT’s director of digital engagement. “By providing new open datasets and offering expert insights from City staff across departments, we open up the potential for the community to be directly involved in designing solutions.”

The event will kick off on Friday, September 22 with opening remarks from City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who chairs the Human Service and Public Health Committee and introduced the Age-Friendly Seattle resolution. Her welcome will be followed by lightning talks from experts across the city to provide context for the hackathon’s goals and spark innovative ways of thinking about the role of technology. This part of the event is open to all members of the public who want to learn more about age-friendly cities.

Teams will compete for recognition in four categories: Best Overall Innovation, Best Data Visualization, Best Accessibility Hack, and Best Use of Open Data. They will present their solutions on Sunday, September 24 at 2 p.m. to a panel of judges from AARP, Impact Hub Seattle, Microsoft Accessibility, Socrata, Tableau, and the Age-Friendly Seattle Initiative. Members of the public are invited to reserve tickets for the opening talks on Friday as well as the final presentations on Sunday.

“This is an area of civic life that is ripe for innovation,” said Candace Faber, the City of Seattle’s civic technology advocate. “Globally, people are living longer than ever and in unprecedented circumstances. I think our community will be inspired by the speakers and mentors to create solutions that could impact millions of lives.”

This event is being produced by the City of Seattle’s Civic Technology Program, a division of Seattle IT in partnership with the City’s Human Services Department, Seattle Department of Transportation, Office of Planning and Community Development, and Parks and Recreation; the University of Washington’s Health Promotion Research Center, Healthy Brain Research Network, and Urban@UW; as well as LeadingAge Washington, Thriving Communities Network, West Seattle Timebank, King County Mobility Coalition, King County Public Health, Microsoft Accessibility, Sound Generations, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

For more information and to register, please visit