Mayor Eric Garcetti and Civic Innovation Lab Team Up to Issue Citywide Water Challenge Through Challenge:LA

​Challenge:LA, a city-wide civic innovation challenge launched in partnership between the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti and Civic Innovation Lab, continues its show of support for the third civic hackathon to take place this summer as a part of the Mayor’s #techLA Summer of Civic Hacking. The Water! Hack will be hosted by rhubarb studios, a technology venture company located in Downtown Los Angeles, this weekend, August 21-23. The hackathon focuses on using innovative technology to find new approaches to addressing the water crisis.

Water! Hack builds off the momentum of National Day of Civic Hacking hosted by Hack for LA in June, and Immigration Hack hosted at the Los Angeles Central Library in July with the Mayor’s Office,, and Civic Innovation Lab. Many of the tech solutions built this summer will be submitted to Challenge:LA and be reviewed by the Mayor’s Office for a chance to win a spot in Accelerate:LA, a new accelerator program dedicated to furthering local civic tech solutions.

Through Mayor Garcetti’s #techLA initiative, the civic tech community has grown tremendously over the last six months. “More and more people are becoming familiar with the term Civic Tech as the movement grows here in Los Angeles. We believe the best definitions emphasize outcomes, going beyond tech for tech’s sake. We’re looking for technology that has the power to reduce barriers to citizen engagement, enhance our quality of life, and make our local and regional government more effective,” said Kat Karimi, Cofounder and Director of Civic Innovation Lab.

Civic Innovation Lab, launch by a coalition of partners in September 2014 that includes the City of Los Angeles Controller’s Office and Microsoft, was created to ensure that all citizens, not only developers and programmers, are engaged in how technology improves our public lives and makes government more efficient and accessible. Experts in policy, urban planning, social justice, and citizens at large may be best suited to develop solutions that lead to measurable impact in the public sphere. To this end, the Lab aims to engage anyone with a project that addresses a critical social or civic need and connect them to public sector experts and citizens with the appropriate technology skills in order to prototype solutions.

“We know that to get real traction with civic tech solutions, we need a facilitated process that involves engagement with end users and testing over time,” said Elizabeth Stewart, Cofounder of Civic Innovation Lab. “While hackathons can jumpstart the process that leads to lasting solutions, we aim to create civic infrastructure that brings expert citizens, the tech community, and government together in a process to yield measurable civic and social impact.”  

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Challenge:LA is made possible through a partnership between The Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti and Civic Innovation Lab.

Challenge:LA is designed to tap into the ingenuity of citizens to solve some of the most pressing social and civic challenges in Los Angeles. The summer 2015 challenges focus on transportation, water conservation, and community engagement. Through September 20, citizens are able to submit projects they think will help move the needle on these pressing public issues. Challenge:LA finalists will be considered in a final judging round in October when grand-prize winners will be announced during the #techLA conference, culminating Los Angeles’ Innovation Week. The winners will be eligible to participate in the next phase of the Lab, Accelerate:LA, a civic accelerator program run by Civic Innovation Lab and designed to encourage the sustainability of each solution and create real impact. More details about Accelerate:LA will be released in October 2015 along with the winning project announcements.

Civic Innovation Lab is made possible in partnership with City of Los Angeles Controller’s Office, Microsoft, Impact Hub LA, Learn Do Share, Goldhirsh Foundation, and Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation.

Kat Karimi, Director, Civic Innovation Lab, (510) 684-8684



Categories: Business Technology, Town and City Government, Information Technology

Tags: civic, civic engagement, innovation, los angeles, social, technology, transportation, water conservation

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We are the first initiative of its kind in Los Angeles dedicated to prototyping and testing real solutions designed with and for communities throughout LA.

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Los Angeles, CA 90013
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