2017 Top 10
City of New York, NY
January 1, 2017
New York

The New York City BigApps Competition is the largest city-run civic tech competition in the country. The annual competition is the brainchild of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). First announced in June 2009, the BigApps Competition was designed to be an annual contest spanning several months that would incentivize software developers and members of the public to use newly released city data to create web and mobile applications with the chance to win cash prizes. BigApps aimed to diversify New York City’s economy by strengthening the information technology and digital media sectors of the city’s business community, foster a culture of innovation, and make city government more transparent, accessible, and accountable to its citizens. As part of the competition’s initial launch, NYCEDC worked with more than 30 city agencies to release more than 170 datasets, including information on census figures, restaurant inspections, property sales, and traffic. BigApps empowered the public to use this newly released data to build applications that could improve life for New Yorkers. In the competition’s first year, 85 applications were submitted and 10 winners were awarded a total of $20,000. Since then, the program has evolved to themed competitions that address specific problems. For instance, in 2015, BigApps called for participants to build products addressing four specific city challenges consistent with the mayor’s priorities: affordable housing, zero waste, connected cities, and civic engagement. NYCEDC partnered with over a dozen city agencies, policy advocates, and tech experts to create a network of mentors that helped competition participants create impactful products addressing these issues. Recognizing that previous competition winners were often left with limited support after the contest's conclusion, NYCEDC also provided the 2015 winners with four months of programming and support services tailored towards civic tech innovators in addition to a total of $125,000 in cash prizes.