BEIRUT: Sponsored by the Municipality of Beirut, the recently concluded Hackthecity.lb Hackathon organized by Smart ESA was a three-day competition involving teams working to find solutions for the main problems of the city.
The teams worked on various themes covering five key topics: The Place, Urban Environment, the People, Urban Resilience and Urban Governance.
Out of 130 applicants, 50 participants were selected and formed 11 teams that worked for 54 hours from Friday, Oct. 12th till Sunday, Oct. 14th. They were coached by 10 mentors and aided by both members of the council of the Municipality of Beirut and the Beirut’s Mayor who has shown a keen interest in such projects.
At the first stage, five finalists were selected. These projects included: “Men Al Assess” a project that addresses the sewage problem, “Park N Ride”an application that addresses the parking problem in Beirut, "Jarak" an application that links neighbors and creates communities, "Plasticoin" a solution that motivates people to recycle and facilitate the collection of recyclable waste. And finally, "Buss-ness", a solution addressing traffic congestion at the city entrance.
Last Friday during the Rethink the City conference held at ESA Business School, the finalists pitched their projects to a selected jury. This jury was comprised Jamal Itani – Mayor of the City of Beirut, Yusra Sidani – Council member of the City of Beirut, Jihad Bitar - Smart ESA’s director, Abdul Mawla Al-Sha’ar – head of Research and Development at ESA, Thomas Thornton – dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alaska and Diana Mangalagiu – Professor at Oxford University.
As a final result, the Jarak concept won the first place and a $1000 cash payment per member of the team.
“All the groups did a wonderful job, there is not one idea that is not extremely exciting and has great potential,” said Mayor Itani.
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