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Citizens Submit Winning Ideas to Improve Their Cities

When ordinary people make an effort to change the world for the better, something extraordinary is bound to happen. Which is why IBM’s People for Smarter Cities, in a partnership with the video crowdsourcing platform Zooppa, asked citizens around the world for ideas on making cities smarter.

Citizens Submit Winning Ideas to Improve Their Cities

When ordinary people make an effort to change the world for the better, something extraordinary is bound to happen. Which is why IBM's People for Smarter Cities, in a partnership with the video crowdsourcing platform Zooppa, asked citizens around the world for ideas on making cities smarter.

The result? An abundance of creative, inspiring and unique solutions — all aimed at sparking positive community change. Extraordinary, indeed.

Citizens submitted about 80 short videos and eight were chosen as the best of the best, showcasing smart ideas — big and small — for water, public safety, healthcare, education and more.

The winning ideas were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Is it visionary? Could the idea bring about a breakthrough change in the way a city is working?
  • Is it efficient? Does the idea offer immediate outcomes and return on investment for the city and its citizens’ lives?
  • Is it actionable? Can the idea be implemented easily and quickly? Will it be universal, applicable and useful to most cities?
  • Is it intelligent? Can we capture data that will enable more improvements and further insights?

Check out the winning submissions to get inspiration for ideas that can improve your city.

Grandby Park 1st prize: Granby Park (Ireland)
The video by Mia Mullarkey shows how an empty space in the city is used and repurposed into a community park where various projects and performances take place — resulting in the creation of jobs as well. The Granby Park team also hopes to create a deployment toolkit and training session to help replicate the model globally. (See related story, Looking to Cook Up Some Smart Ideas?)

Factory To Fish Farm2nd prize: Factory to Fish Farm (Detroit, Michigan, U.S.)
Detroit was once a boomtown that saw nothing but prosperity in its economic future. Today it’s wrestling with bankruptcy, and city residents are trying to redefine their city. In her film, Carrie Lezotte presents the SHAR (Self Help Addiction Rehabilitation) association, which repurposes an abandoned facility into a fish farm in order to restore an old local food system, and create jobs and educational programs in the city.

Cardboard Bike3rd prize: Cardboard Bike (Israel)
This video by Giora Kariv shows a small-time inventor who developed a greener and cheaper means of transportation in the city. By transforming raw material — cardboard — into a recyclable bike, his idea helps reduce urban traffic load and air pollution.

4th prize: Leaf Ninjas (Calgary, Canada)
In this video by Kait CB, unused city space is repurposed into urban gardens to grow local food and bring people together to work toward a common goal. As a result, a fully sustainable food ecosystem, a strong community and new jobs were created.

Blind Spot5th prize: Blind Spot (Singapore, Asia)
This product featured by Cecilia Ang improves the everyday life of the visually disabled by integrating modern technology into their sole navigation system — the white cane. The inclusion of an ultrasonic sensor helps detect objects in their path so they can easily and safely navigate their city.

XS Project6th prize: XSProject (Indonesia)
This video by Dave E. Arnold tells the story of thousands of trash pickers living in poverty who collect anything that can be sold for recycling. XSProject buys waste materials from them that can’t be recycled, creating new sources of income. The XS Education program provides trash pickers’ children with education, giving them a path out of poverty and disease.

Walk Your City7th prize: Walk [Your City] (Oakland, U.S.)
Encouraging a greener method of transportation as well as a healthier way to get around, this video by Darryl Jones shows how citizens can create safe and healthy walkable environments through the use of affordable eye-catching street signage. Since the project was kicked off in 2012, it has been adopted by 38 countries worldwide. (See related story, Is Your City Walkable?)

Sing for Hope initiative8th prize: Play Me (New York, U.S.
In 2013, Sing for Hope’s piano initiative came to NYC. Eighty-eight donated pianos were set out on streets and in parks for two weeks. This video by Novijan Sandjaja, Play Me, is an ode to the idea of using music and art to transform public spaces and promote citizen interaction, creativity and joy.

The winning filmmakers will receive monetary prizes totaling $22,000, a tribute to the community projects featured in these films. If you have an idea to share, submit them in the People for Smarter Cities’ Ideas & Insights section.

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