Sustainability 2015

October 16th–18th


2401 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

  • Meals
  • T-shirt

The Event

Come hang out for our last signature hackathon of 2015!

Apps for Philly Sustainability is part hackathon and part unconference. We’re excited to be included in this year’s State of Young Philadelphia organized by Young Involved Philadelphia. Though often convoluted, in this context sustainability is thought of broadly. We’re hacking to make our city better, through collaboration and creative thinking, for a sustainable future.

This event will bring together technologists, community organizers, and sustainability enthusiasts/experts for a weekend-long rapid prototyping session. Ideas presented and discussed at the preceding Friday Unconference and Community Needs Assessment provide a starting point for project ideas, but all ideas related to sustainability are welcome. The only restriction is that all work done during the event must be released under an open-source license (or equivalent for non-software projects).

Follow and add to the conversation on Twitter with #SustyHack2015 and #SOYP15

Find us @CodeforPhilly


The unconference and hackathon are ticketed events. You can purchase either or both on SquadUp.

The Community Needs Assessment is no cost.


Code for Philly Innovations


Friday, October 16th

@ Innovation Lab, Municipal Services Building

9am-4:30pm Unconference

10:30am Opening remarks and Keynote

Max Zahniser of Sustainability Nexus and City CoHo will help us define sustainability in the 21st century with his keynote remarks. Max has a broad background in architecture, including higher education, retail, residential, corporate office, healthcare and industrial projects. He has been cited/quoted as an expert on sustainability, green building, LEED and/or Building Information Modeling (BIM).

11am-12:30pm block 1 breakout sessions

12:30pm-2pm lunch and networking break

1:30pm-4pm block 2 breakout sessions

4pm-4:30pm closing remarks

Whether it’s physical, social, political, economic, or otherwise ours is a city of legacy infrastructures. To thrive in the 21st century, Philadelphia must adapt and evolve. We believe that the best solutions are collaborative and sustainable.

The unconference begins to unpack some of the complexities of these topics. Multiple sessions will run concurrently broken down by track—Elevating and Discovery


Elevating: builds on areas of practice where Philadelphia is a leader in sustainability. Examples include open data, civic technology, green infrastructure, trails and parks, the arts, higher education, entrepreneurship and business resources, etc.

Discovery: brings new, uncommon voices to the table to re-think standard definitions and approaches to sustainability (or areas related to sustainability where we can improve). Examples issues of poverty, crime and violence, the education system

Friday, October 16th


6–9pm Community Needs Assessment

This Friday night event will be open to all Philadelphians to come discuss how technology can improve sustainability in our city, generating project ideas for the Apps for Philly Sustainability: Hackathon taking place over the following Saturday and Sunday. This event will be held at WHYY as part of the YIP’s SoYP Civic Fair.

Teams will be free to choose to work on whatever they want over the hackathon, but the posted ideas and votes they accumulate provide an easy starting point for building teams.

6:00pm Brainstorming and voting

8:30pm Project Pitches

Saturday, October 17th

@ City CoHo (2401 Walnut, Phila 19103)

09:30am Doors and registration open, breakfast and coffee served.

Walk around and look through the idea placards posted during last night’s community needs assessment and think about what you want to work on

10:30am Opening remarks

Jason Cox, My Milkcrate co-founder and CTO @jasocox

Hear an overview of the event and an introduction to civic hacking and hackathons

11:00am Team formation

Hang out next to the placard for your favorite project idea and discover who shares your interest

11:30am Hacking begins!

Find a spot to setup shop with your team and get started. Visit the mentor lounge at any time if you need guidance

01:00pm Lunch served and workshops

06:00pm Dinner served and hacking crunch time

10:00pm Doors closed for the night

Get some sleep!

Sunday, October 18th

@ City CoHo (2401 Walnut, Phila 19103)

10:00am Doors open, breakfast and coffee served

01:00pm Snacks and presentation wrap up

03:00pm Presentations begin

Present and/or demo your project to the experts and your co-hackers

05:00pm Doors closed

Data / Resources

New Data Releases


  • Street Name Aliases – Table to display street names which have aliased street names associated with them.
  • Street Place Names – A listing of “places” and their corresponding addresses to be used for geocoding.
  • Track Streets – Street segments containing train tracks.
  • Intersection Control – Active intersection controls for the Street Lighting and Traffic Engineering Divisions of the City of Philadelphia Streets Department.
  • Snow Categories – Prioritized categories for snow deployment, depending on the severity of snowfall.

Sustainability Office

Refreshed Data Sets


Panel of Experts


Who is Code for Philly?

Code for Philly is an open, nonprofit group that helps people in Philly work together to solve problems and improve life through technology. Some of us are programmers or designers, others are makers or problem solvers, a handful are urbanists or journalists, but everyone is a civic hacker. We believe in the power of knowledge — orchestrated by code — to drive transformative and sustainable change in cities. We don’t wait for permission to improve our city because it’s our home to improve. Inclusive, collaborative, and creative, our members develop diverse projects that take on some of Philly’s most pressing issues.

What is a Hackathon?

Simply put, and as the name might suggest, hackathons are hacking marathons. This means that we get together for a weekend to create new projects from the ideation stage to functional (or at least semi-functional) prototypes. It’s also a great excuse to eat food, drink lots of coffee, hang out with friends and meet new people. Friday night begins with a happy hour to socialize a bit and come up with a few project ideas based on problem statements and/or available data. Project ideas are posted along the walls and every attendee gets a number of “upvote” stickers to stick to their favorites as they mingle through the projects. On Saturday morning we hit the ground running with teams self-selecting around favored project ideas from the night before. Teams then have until Sunday afternoon to prototype a solution and put together a brief presentation to present to a panel of expert judges. The judges challenge teams to defend their ideas and award available prizes to the most fitting projects, but everyone is encouraged to continue their civic hacking efforts at the weekly Code for Philly hack nights.

Who Should Come? / What if I’m not a coder?

If you’re passionate about Philadelphia, if you think you can help make it more sustainable, and if you believe in the power of code to facilitate change, you should come! Civic hacking and hackathons benefit from participants of all types of backgrounds and levels of expertise. Technologists with advanced, professional skills can take the lead in project design and development. Intermediate and beginners take on tasks that support their learning and contribute to project advancement. Even those with no technological skills at all can play vital roles in researching, designing, and launching projects. Subject-matter experts are essential to the quality, sustainability, and scalability of a project. Content experts and partner organizations contribute extensive, nuanced knowledge of the subject matter; they help guide and structure a project so that it tackles key needs, creating the greatest possible impact.


Event sponsors

Community Sponsors

Azavea @azavea

PromptWorks @PromptWorks

City CoHo/Sustainability Nexus @co[underscore]nexus @sustain[underscore]nexus

My MilkCrate @MyMilkcrateApp

Interested in being a sponsor? Check out our prospectus and contact us!

Event Collaborators

Young Involved Philadelphia @yiphilly

Philadelphia Water Department @phillyH2O

SEPTA+Sustainability @septa_social @iseptaphilly

School District of Philadelphia @SDPGreenFutures

Sustainable Business Network-Green Stormwater Infrastructure @sbnphila

City of Philadelphia: Office of Innovation and Technology, Streets Department, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, and the Innovation Lab of the Managing Director’s Office @PhillyMDO @PHLInnovation @PhilaStreets @GreenworksPhila @PhilaGovData

Clean Air Council @Go[underscore]Philly[underscore]Go and @cleanaircouncil

SPARC/Forsei @SpArcPhilly @ForseiCo

Want to get involved? You can submit an idea, lead a session, or volunteer at the event.