JAN, 2019

Smart Cities Challenge Update

Our Smart Cities Challenge team recently hosted representatives from the federal government who came out to learn about our proposal and meet the people and organizations who have been developing it with us.

The Smart Cities Challenge is a federal competition for local governments to address community issues through the use of technology, and we’ve been shortlisted for the $10 million prize. The focus of our project is to break the cycle of Indigenous youth incarceration by building a new cycle of purpose, belonging, security and identity. We have been working with front line organizations, a wide range of institutions, and–most importantly–our youth advisory group to come up with a technology tool that could make a real difference.

We are proposing to build a data centre that keeps track of information related to available programs and services that youth, their families, their allies, and service providers are able to access in the moment they need it. Where can they sleep that night? Where can they find an activity to do that’s free? Where can they talk to an Elder? How will they get from where they are in that moment to where they need to go? We are also building different tools for youth, families, allies and service providers to be able to access that information at all times of the day and in as many places as possible, from their own phone, to a computer in their school or public library, to a kiosk in a mall.

This data hub will provide a community-wide picture of what is available and the demands on those supports at any time. It can also be used by organizations for regular analysis to identify gaps, trends, and understand better ways to respond.

We are really proud of all the work that has been done by our community members to bring this idea into something that is real and possible. The deadline for our proposal is March 5, and we’ll find out in early summer whether we’re successful or not in winning this $10 million prize. Even if we aren’t successful, the relationships we have built and learning that we have all experienced is already setting our community on a stronger path.

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