Atlanta Heroes Take a Hack at Gentrification Disparities
Contributed by: Mark Taylor II
Gentrification is happening in Atlanta and all over the world. Billions of money is being spent, meanwhile very little of it goes to established residents, local employees, and business owners. Goodie Nation couldn’t idly stand by and watch as displacement, economic opportunity, and various other gentrification issues continue to plague the underserved community. So, from October 14-16, 2016, we assembled some of Atlanta’s most passionate developers, designers, data scientists, and ideators to create tech products at Goodie #HackGentrification – one of the world’s only hackathons dedicated to connecting those impacted by gentrification to economic opportunities.
Changemakers to the Rescue
With a little gusto from team founders who presented their ideas, sponsorship from GitHub and a “Community Partners Grant” from Google, 9 teams were matched with developers and designers to create prototypes. The challenge was to help 500,000 people who live, work, or are connected to areas impacted by gentrification to nearby economic opportunities (make money, save money, or increase equity) by December 2018. The founders originally attended our Goodie Ideation lab session where they learned how to generate big ideas for social impact. After presentations, the tech talent joined their founders’ teams and spent the next 48 hours hacking at solutions for gentrification. The Minimum Viable Products created were:
General Issues in Gentrification
An Uber-Like app that picks up leftover food from restaurants, office buildings, caterers, and event planners and delivers it to establishments that aid the underserved community – Aaron Francis (Front/Back End Dev), Jasmine Crowe (Founder), Corey Shaw (Back End Dev), Nishant Panchal (UX Designer), Luxmi Saha (Back End Dev), Daniel Lawrence (Front End Dev), Tisha Sutherland (Data Analysis)
Mobile app that helps pregnant women who have been displaced by gentrification away from city resources save money by providing accurate information on ways to plan their pregnancy – Bianca Campbell (Data Scientist), Ricardo Sewell (Full-Stack Dev & Ux Design), Jeremy Sewell (Full-Stack Dev & UX Design)
Tech platform that gives voice to communities by bringing diverse people (developers, new and old residents) to talk about gentrification issues, face-to-face, around the dinner table. Food purchased from restaurants in pre-gentrified areas – Han Pham, Grant Stevens, James King (Full Stack Dev), Dane Wetschler, John Coppola (Front-End Dev), Amit Verma (Data Scientist), Leslie Caceda (Full Stack Dev)
Tech-enabled mobile container that provides water and instructions on how to obtain identification. Uses NFC to track location of the container via a website. – India Aleah Hayes, Danielle Withers (Front-End Dev), Shirlette Chambers (Full Stack Dev), Alex Hwang (Full Stack Dev)
Workforce Development / Entrepreneurship Category
Platform that helps turn HBCU students into social entrepreneurs focusing on solving problems on their campus or in the surrounding gentrified area – Thomas Calhoun, Brandon Lucas (Rails Dev)
Web/Mobile Platform that provides potential savings to ensure economic stability based on 3 options for those getting displaced: Affordable Housing Options in other areas; Jobs based upon existing skillsets and employer demand; Accessible transportation – Jacob Smallwood (App Dev), Sontrez Tigner (Front-End Dev), Max Grinchenko (App Dev), Errin Calhoun (Data Engineer), Treven Holcomb (UI Designer), Brittany Kirkland (Co-Founder), Ravi Makadia (Co-Founder & Project Manager), Jamaz Hall (Co-Founder & Project Management)
Platform that teaches students who live in gentrified areas to code by working on gentrification social impact projects from their neighborhood – Reuben Johnson (Front-End Dev & Strategy), Katiana Stephens (Back-End Dev), Sam Brooks (UX Design), Latrice Ross (Founder), Sherri Johnson (Web Designer)
Platform that connects workforce development non-profits to youth subcontracting opportunities with businesses in gentrified areas: Business posts discrete project parts that crews can do, Algorithm matches skills + capacity with projects and recommends projects to non-profits, Non-profit posts capacity + skills – Bruno Martinho (Front-End Dev), Joel Alexandre (Full-Stack Dev), Kelly Balcarczyk (Co-Founder), Tasmia Noor (UX Designer), Sanjay Satagopan (Co-Founder)
The AirBnB-like app for lawns and farming. Urban agriculture marketplace that brings the homeowners in gentrified areas with urban farmers. Grow food not grass. Allows urban farmers to sell and share the surplus with the homeowner – Aton Bridges (Co-Founder), Khari Diop (Co-Founder), Anita Wright (Co-Founder), Eamon Penland (Co-Founder), Randy Nguyen (Backend Developer), David Pham (Map Maker), Immaniah Shlemah (Front-End Dev), Tyler (Back-End Dev)
Initially, the competition began with 18 big ideas and ultimately came down to nine products that were presented during the finals. We consider all of our teams as winners, but for the sake of staying true to the competitive side of the occasion, first and second place winners were selected among two categories. Top performers walked away with a 1st place prize of $1,000 and 2nd place prize of $500. During the working moments of the competition, our mentors scoured, scrutinized and advised teams to make their projects a success.
The Verdict is In: Meet the Judges
With the strongest emphasis placed on functionality and a single “killer” feature, our subject matter experts (shown below) had a tough time when it came to deciding on the winners, taking quite a while for deliberation given the stellar products and pitches among the finalists.
In the end, among the General category, the femme-fatale heroines of Mini City took home 1st place, showcasing their product which uses NFC technology to assist the homeless. They were followed by Spektra in 2nd place and Goodr in 3rd. In the Workforce Development/Entrepreneurship category, Ripple Effect snagged first place leaving Wedge and Agrowhood in a gridlock for second place!
Although winners were chosen, our first priority is about solving the problems that stem from gentrification. Therefore, all teams are winners in the fight against gentrification disparities and will move forward to the next phase in the process – Goodie Marketing – regardless of place.
Ideas x Minimum Viable Products = Solutions to Scale
Now that these ideas have been made it a reality, it’s time to call on another group of heroes to spread influence, launch and connect these solutions to the people that need them. If you have creative skills that can aid our heroes in the fight against gentrification disparities, sign up for Goodie Marketing. We’re looking for everyday passionate people talented in areas of digital marketing, branding/communication, web/graphic design, UX/UI development, sales and more! The competition will involve creation of a strategy that includes key elements for promotion such (i.e. logo, slogan, landing page, messaging, market segmentation, web copy, and etc.). You can also lend hand as volunteer and join other changemakers to help save the world. Visit Goodie Marketing for more info!
What are your thoughts on gentrification in Atlanta or elsewhere? Comment with your thoughts or questions below. Don’t miss out on the next Goodie Nation event! Connect with us [Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn] to stay updated and for the opportunity to participate!