Past Tech Challenge Winners

Our past Challenge winners have taken on a broad array of issues, from urban vacancy and retail leakage to food deserts and the digital divide.

The Urban Sustainability Tech Challenge

By connecting people from all across the city, the CNT Urban Sustainability Tech Challenge has become increasingly important as a unifying platform for residents and technologists to systemically give voice to issues and create community-driven solutions.


Check out below to see the 2016 Sustain-a-City Celebration



Learn more about all of our 2016 participants

In 2016, we recognized four winners with solutions to crime, safety, tenant issues, and parent schedule coordination.

First Place

Stop Crime App  Idea Leader: Maurice Gunn 

Stop Crime App facilitates the anonymous reporting of crimes. The app allows for anonymous video, photo, or audio submissions directly from users’ phones to a trusted intermediary organization, providing real-time evidence that is GPS coded and time-stamped, which will make it easier for law enforcement to address crime and minimize the risk to residents. End users will be incentivized by consumer discounts, giveaways, and other value-adds.

Second Place

Chi Safe Path  Idea Leader: Steve Luker

Chi Safe Path allows users to submit geo-tagged images of sidewalk problems that hurt accessibility to Chicago’s 311 system. This will help wheelchair users and others with limited mobility access public spaces, buildings, and more. The app allows users to locate accessible directions to sites of their choosing based on the crowdsourced data modeled in a map interface.

Third Place

Neighbors Creating Neighborhoods  Idea Leader: Sheenita Robinson

Neighbors Creating Neighborhoods (NCN) works like an advocacy group for tenants to address issues with landlords. Tenants encountering slumlords can use NCN as an easy way to report and document complaints to spur landlord action. Information is shared with community leaders – including the alderman, local organizations, and more – to pressure landlords to fix Chicago’s rental stock. On the flip side, it also publicly recognizes responsive landlords. Anyone who rents can share in the NCN community to help advocate for better housing.

People's Choice

Schedule Scout  Idea Leader: Corliss King

Schedule Scout allows co-parents to coordinate the care and nurturing of their children, whatever the state of their relationship. Parents who may no longer have a functional relationship but continue to raise children together can use the app to track pickups, payments, connections, calendars, care givers, and more. Details that often go uncommunicated when a relationship goes sour can be tracked in the app, helping parents know where their kids are and what they are doing on a platform that the child can also access.



Learn more about our 2015 competition

In 2015, our top three winners designed working apps that address unique issues that are relevant across community boundaries: food deserts and the digital divide.

First Place 

Purshable Idea Leader: Elizabeth Zubiate

Elizabeth Zubiate and her team created Purshable, an app that builds a demand for close-to-expiration food that grocery stores typically throw away. The average Chicago grocery store throws out $2,300 worth of food that is older, but still good, every single day. Purshable dynamically repurposes these goods, marketing items from member stores at a discount to low-income and environmentally conscious consumers. The app uses U.S. Census CitySDK and City of Chicago OpenGov data. 

Second Place

Techspace  Idea Leader: Matt Lee

TechSpace connects tech training programs with available spaces in neighborhood churches, community centers, and other places. TechSpace utilizes City of Chicago OpenGov data to provide a dynamic exchange of spaces available for tech training events and revenue potential for venues with spaces to rent. 

Third Place

Fresh Eats  Idea Leader: Lydia Moore

Fresh Eats provides members alerts, maps, and search capability to find fresh fruit and vegetables in neighborhood food deserts. Fresh Eats utilizes U.S. Census CitySDK and City of Chicago OpenGov data to identify all the places other than grocery stores where fresh produce is sometimes available; allowing residents to “tag” specific fruits and vegetables when they’re available. 



“The CNT Urban Sustainability Apps Competition is an excellent opportunity for residents to connect with the broader tech community in developing innovations that tackle what were once insurmountable challenges.”

Brenna Berman
Chief Information Officer--Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology