A Cutting-Edge Planning Hackathon in Seattle

In GeekWire, Chuck Wolfe covers an atypical urban planning and policy gathering called an “Urban Resilience Hackathon,” which was held at the University of Washington in Seattle late last month. For a day, the event showcased collaborative problem solving and innovative thinking in addressing urban challenges.

1 minute read

May 6, 2024, 11:00 AM PDT

By Charles R. Wolfe @crwolfelaw


Urban scale vulnerability? | Roman Khomlyak / Shutterstock

Writing for GeekWire—and as a hackathon participant—Chuck Wolfe explains how the hackathon brought together volunteer organizations, state and local government, students, and researchers to co-develop testable “resilience pilot projects” that could help Seattle be more prepared for future disruptions.

DemocracyLab, a “tech for good” nonprofit, helped facilitate the hackathon, which had support from the National Science Foundation LEAP-HI project, and the UW’s Department of Urban Design and Planning.

The UW hackathon centered on various pitches each addressing a different aspect of urban resilience to be tested against a future earthquake, pandemic, excessive heat event, or massive airline flight grounding. The pitches were also assessed for support of the Seattle Climate Action Plan and Seattle Race and Justice Initiative. 

The range of projects presented, from urban system solutions to emergency water storage, speaks to the diverse issues that require further preparation and collaboration.

“Crises don’t allow time to invent responses from scratch,” said Dr. Dan Abramson, one of the event’s organizers from the UW Department of Urban Design and Planning. “Cities need to be adaptable, and the most adaptable cities are those that have a deep reserve of policies and programs they can draw on to keep themselves vital when normal activities are disrupted.”

Monday, May 6, 2024 in GeekWire

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