The Urban Sustainability Tech Challenge

This year’s Tech Challenge focuses on the use of data science to illuminate a theme: the additional financial burdens shouldered by low-income communities.

Families in low-income communities tend to pay higher prices for necessities and services like water, transportation, and car insurance than do people in higher-income areas—so for many reasons, it costs more to be poor. CNT’s fall 2019 Tech Challenge aims to quantify these additional costs through a unique collaboration between students, community members, and companies.  

CNT will link college students, community organizations, and corporate partners together in a joint effort to quantify the effects of specific factors on the living costs of low-income communities. As they use data analysis to explore the problem, students will have the opportunity to gain experience in data science and see firsthand its applications to local community issues. Community and corporate support, along with assistance from CNT, will offer guidance to solidify connections to the community problems they are examining. The Challenge will conclude in a final presentation on December 10, 2019 at the Motorola Innovation Center in Chicago, at which each team will present their findings, receive recognition, and hear feedback on their work.

Along with training students in the utilization of data science to address community issues, this Challenge will result in quantified evidence showing the inverse relationship between income and living expenses and will identify specific reasons for the trend. It is our hope that the Challenge can also lead to a follow-up in which participants implement ideas to address the issues identified this year.  

Want to get involved? Contact Rebecca Raines at if you are interested or have any questions, and view this flyer on partnering with the program at the December 10th Final Presentations.