After celebrating Earth Day earlier this week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced today the winners of the Chicago CleanWeb Challenge, a year-long competition launched in April 2013 to accelerate sustainability and technology in Chicago through community engagement and entrepreneurship. The four winners built mobile device and web applications promoting STEM education, economic development in Bronzeville, energy efficiency and healthy food access.
“The Chicago CleanWeb Challenge winners have created invaluable resources to help make Chicago the most sustainable city of the 21st century,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These are the kinds of innovative tools we need to engage and inform communities on how they can help their home, families and neighborhoods combat contemporary urban challenges.”
Planet Lab, the first place winner, received a $2,000 grant for their STEM learning network that will help the next generation of scientists learn about the Earth’s air, water, energy and food systems. Its network provides a platform for crowd-sourcing and curating to connect students to the best in science educational content and hands-on project-based learning. As first place winners, they will have the opportunity to pitch Mayor Emanuel on how their prototype will help teachers and classrooms learn and work together while nurturing the planet.
Second place winner Build It! Bronzeville received a $1,500 grant for their mobile game app that uses game simulations and data crowd-sourced from real-time consumer activity, allowing residents to help determine how resources are allocated throughout their community. The gaming element allows residents to learn more about their neighborhood. As they progress and unlock more levels, players discover more about transportation, open space and clean energy options in their community.
Better NRG, an app that offers energy consumers a one-stop shop to save money and become more energy efficient won third place and a $1,000 grant. LINK Up Illinois received an honorable mention and a $500 grant worth for making healthy farm-fresh foods more affordable by doubling the value of LINK card purchases at farmers markets across the state.
“All year long, these innovators worked to find sustainable solutions to the most challenging urban issues plaguing cities throughout the world,” said Karen Weigert, Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer and CleanWeb Challenge judge. “These applications will bring the minds and actions of community members throughout our City together to put us all on a new, sustainable path, and for that they are all winners.”
The CleanWeb Challenge builds off the Mayor’s Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Plan. Initiatives such as the CleanWeb Challenge and the City’s Retrofit Chicago program, which recently announced it has exceeded its 24 month residential unit retrofitting goal, signal significant progress in Chicago’s quest to becoming the most sustainable 21st century city.
Events throughout the competition were hosted by the Office of the Mayor, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Center for Neighborhood Technology and the World Wildlife Fund.