Cities & Transportation


geography, economics, political science, engineering, history

Cities and how we get around in them are rapidly changing. By 2050, 70% of the world's population will live in cities. Help us study and reimagine cities in the 21st century and beyond.

The Projects

Browse the participating projects

Let’s check GO-JEK: is a transportation service transforming urban livelihoods in Indonesia?

GO-JEK is a transportation service innovation that today is arguably Indonesia’s leading startup. Its inspiration...

Testing a small-scale rapid aerated composting system for urban environments

Urban food and yard wastes can contribute in multiple ways to greenhouse gas production and water pollution...

Youth on the Move: Re-Storying Urban Communities with Public Art and Digital Media

Amplified by news and social media, stories of urban youth are often negative, portraying urban communities...

More About This Challenge

The sciency details

Challenge Amount:
Submission Deadline:
Nov 29, 2016
Campaign Launch:
Dec 13, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

How do challenge grants work?

This challenge is for projects that launch crowdfunding campaigns by Dec 13, 2016. The project with the most backers after three weeks will receive an additional $500 grant. Eligible projects must be approved before the launch deadline. Researchers from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK are welcome to submit. For all others, please get in touch!

When will the grant be awarded?

On January 3rd at 5PM PT, the prizes will be awarded according to the posted schedule.

Can I still submit a project?

We are no longer accepting projects for this grant, however we will be launching many more challenge grant opportunities. Sign up for our mailing list for up-to-date community news.

Please Note:

If we see suspicious acitivity of researchers or backers potentially cheating during the challenge, the project will be completely disqualified from winning the grant.

Challenge Aims

We want to ask how cities in the 21st century can be smarter, cleaner, and happier. This is no easy feat, as this challenge blends urban planning, architecture, technology, policy, data science, engineering, and design. This challenge is focused on research studying new cities and how we move through them. 

Cities are petri dishes for testing and observing human behavior. Culture, diversity, energy, and business are all impacted by the history of a city. It's also the setting for future policies and trends - art, music, and education but also income inequality, and corruption. We'd like to look into the nooks and crannies of cities to find what goes on inside them.

Regarding transportation, we're excited by recent efforts in autonomous vehicles, using computer vision and machine learning. High-speed rail projects and other public transit lines are engineering marvels. There's also a lot of potential in studying senior-mobility, car and bike sharing economies, and cartographic methods.

Some questions we're particularly interested in:

  • What does the model city look and feel like?
  • Could you design a car-less city? Bike-sharing everywhere!
  • How do you encourage diversity and culture in a modern city?
  • Why does a slice of NYC pizza match the price of a subway ticket?
  • How do you make San Francisco more affordable, and why is it so especially bad at this?
  • How does a city respond to hosting public events like Olympics or the World Cup?
  • How do we make cities more accessible for people with disabilities, senior citizens, children?
  • What is the impact of refugees on city infrastructure and communities? How can cities appropriately be built to respond?
  • How are buildings and living environments adapting to modern cities and citizens?
  • Mathematical modeling of traffic and movement
  • How is census data being used in urban planning?

Examples of past cities and transportation projects that have been successfully funded:

How do parks cool Baltimore?

Measurement of Atmospheric Pollution Profiles using Drones

Urban Pollination: sustain native bees & urban crops

Do coal and diesel trains make for unhealthy air?

Project Eligilibity

This grant is for projects that launch campaigns by Nov 29, 2016. The project that ends with the most backers will receive an additional $500 grant. Eligible projects must be approved before the launch deadline.

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