Seattle last weekend hosted its “City for All” hackathon, which gathered data scientists, designers and urban planners, and software developers to search for solutions for challenges connected to aging and accessibility within the city.

The hackathon, which began on Friday and ended Sunday, was hosted in partnership with the Age-Friendly Seattle initiative. The initiative, according to the city, is part of Seattle’s commitment to residents of all ages, including senior citizens who wish to age in place. Seattle was specifically looking for market-based solutions, civic apps, data visualizations, and design proposals.

Ahead of the hackathon, city agencies released new open data sets that contained nearly 2 million rows of public data that show what kinds of programs and services the city provides and who takes advantage of them.


The hackathon also included a competitive element. The nine hacker teams were competing for $10,000 in prize money in four award categories–Overall Innovation, Best Use of Open Data, Best Data Visualization, and Best Accessibility Hack.

The winner for Best Overall Innovation was the Pandora for Streets/Smellevation Maps team. Their solution addressed several of AARP’s eight domains of livability in a single app. The proposed app would also include paths in Seattle that have the best smells, sounds, views, and hills. App users can also improve the app’s algorithm by voting to rank how important each aspect is to them.

The GoInfo Game won the Best Accessibility Hack category. The team’s solution gamified the collection of bus stop information that disabled riders need. SeaSidewalks won the Best Use of Open Data and Best Data Visualization categories by developing a visualization of data from the Department of Transportation’s recent citywide sidewalk analysis. The SeaSidewalks team developed a way for the city to prioritize sidewalk issues, such as concrete repairs, based on factors including proximity to hospitals and other accessibility concerns.

The prize money was supported by AARP in partnership with Sound Generations. The winners were selected by a panel of judges from Age-Friendly Seattle, AARP, Impact Hub Seattle, Microsoft Accessibility, Socrata, Sound Generations, and Tableau.

Other teams tackled issues such as improving social isolation of the elderly through an app that suggests nearby activities, a map that visualizes geographic availability of social services, and a way to automate accessibility ride requests.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs