The NYCx Co-Labs are neighborhood-based partnership to co-design a set of challenges and make neighborhood spaces available for testing new technologies to address the neighborhood's more pressing needs
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, joined by other elected officials and community partners, announced on Monday the launch of the NYCx Co-Lab Challenges, inviting startups, entrepreneurs and independent teams to propose tech solutions that address community needs in Brownsville.
"I believe wholeheartedly in the incredible untapped potential of Brownsville, and I believe in the potential of neighborhood solutions that can be fostered through collaboration with our friends in the tech community," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. "As a native of Brownsville, I am particularly proud that my community will be the birthplace for innovative local tech solutions that may have global applications."
The NYCx Co-Labs are a neighborhood-based partnership to co-design a set of challenges and make neighborhood spaces available for testing new technologies to address the community's more pressing needs. The program includes two challenges for which solutions are sought.
The first Co-Lab challenge in Brownsville, Safe and Thriving Night Corridors, calls for solutions to enhance public experience, and increase night activity and community safety while creating economic and cultural opportunities for the neighborhood. The second challenge, Zero Waste in Shared Space, is looking for solutions that increase the residents' participation in recycling and waste-reduction, as well as reducing trash and litter in the common areas in public housing.
Iona Jimenez, co-owner of Brownsville's 3 Black Cats Cafe, is in support of every effort to increase entrepreneurial opportunities in her neighborhood.
"We participated in steering the tech challenges to create an attractive and safe nighttime experience on Belmont Avenue because we recognize how much people in Brownsville want to enjoy neighborhood spaces like ours," said Iona Jimenez, co-owner of 3 Black Cats Cafe. "To meet their friends and loved ones for a delicious dinner, or to see the talented musicians and artists of Brownsville."
The NYCx Co-Labs program is part of the city's tech equity efforts in Brownsville that started with the Neighborhood Innovation Labs, an initiative launched in March 2017 as part of the Brownsville Plan. The initiative brought together communities, government, educators and technologists to research, develop and demonstrate solutions to improve quality of life and enhance city services. Neighborhood Innovation Labs are a public-private partnership led by the Mayor's office of the Chief Technology Officer, New York City Economic Development Corporation and NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress. The Brownsville Community Justice Center serves as the lead community partner for the city's first Neighborhood Innovation Lab in Osborn Plaza. Other community partners include Made in Brownsville, Russell Simmons' Rush Communications and Google.
"Young residents of Brownsville continue to exercise their collective agency by shaping the space outside of their doors," said Quardean Lewis-Allen, founder of Made in Brownsville. "Take a walk down Belmont Ave and you'll find evidence that we are rich with art. Go to Osborn Plaza and you'll see how local partners supported Brownsville's young creatives with the opportunity to design an environment that celebrates unity."
Applicants who want to participate in the NYCx Co-Lab Challenges in Brownsville can submit their proposals until December 15, 2017. Winners will receive funding, access to urban infrastructure and support from city agencies to implement their solutions in Brownsville neighborhood spaces in 2018. The city also plans to expand the NYCx Co-Labs program to all five boroughs in 2018.