On 3-5 June, the first-ever Tartu Urban Space Hackathon took place at Lodjakoda. This was the first fully on-site hackathon in Estonia since the beginning of the pandemic over two years ago!
Nine teams took part in the hackathon to build solutions for a greener, smarter, more inspiring and more accessible urban environment. In addition to tech solutions, we saw physical prototypes at the finals and, for the first time in Garage48 history, even an event as a prototype.
The Tartu Urban Space Hackathon had two main goals – to engage citizens in creating an urban environment they really want to live in and to support Tartu City’s mission to be one of the top 100 most climate-neutral cities within the next ten years. In fact, reducing the environmental impact of cities by 2030 is defined as a sustainable development goal, so it’s not just important for Tartu.
The main indicators to achieve this mission are to lower the city’s carbon footprint, use modern planning techniques, increase biodiversity, be accessible for everyone, promote cycling and include citizens in decision-making processes. The best way to get it done? A hackathon focusing on urban space!
“When we started on Friday, we didn't really know what to expect. As with every hackathon, also this one had quite many surprises in store. First of all, we realized that we need to pivot into a makeathon right away because a lot of ideas were actually ideas that needed to build hardware or electronics. Also, we had never had before that a prototype for a solution would take a form of an event or a festival. That was crazy!”
- Priit Salumaa, Co-founder of Garage48
Over 48 hours, the teams worked on diverse solutions to solve challenges closest to their hearts. For example, one team who uses bicycles as a main form of transportation built a trailer for the city bikes so that they could transport items that don’t fit into the front basket.
“We got many awesome ideas from the hackathon that we’re looking forward to seeing implemented and which we’ll also support from our side. I hope that the Urban Space Hackathon becomes an annual tradition as it’s a great opportunity to find solutions to interesting challenges related to the urban environment.”
- Raimond Tamm, Deputy Mayor of Tartu City
Meet the teams who took part:
OVERALL WINNER: Emajõe Kultuuriturg
One of the sketchiest areas in Tartu is between the Peace Bridge and Harbour Theatre. It’s a go-to place for bums, is littered with trash, and generally feels unsafe. However, as it is located right in the city center, it has a lot of potential.
Team Emajõe Kultuuriturg put on an event in the area on Sunday with the goal to liven up the area and making it more attractive to people of all ages. They managed to organize a food truck, coffee on wheels, a free sauna, swing dancers, street artists, installations and a musician for the event – all in addition to coordinating the event with the city, getting electricity in place, and marketing the initiative.
The team showcases street art and an idea board which were created at the event.
The team said they want to turn it into a creative hub in the future to truly transform it into a space people want to spend time in. Tartu City will support the further development of the initiative. In addition, they won business consultations from the Tartu Business Advisory Services, tickets to Impact Day, and Click & Grow smart gardens.
Team Emajõe Kultuuriturg
Team members: Team members: Veli, Kaidi, Rasmus, Kerli, Taavi and Triin.
FIRST RUNNER UP: Leccy
The team built a prototype of an electric scooter charging station that attaches to lamp posts, buildings or other existing electricity sources. People will be able to safely leave their scooters to charge for a couple of hours while running errands, meeting friends, or going to lessons.
Tartu City will support the further development of this idea. In addition, they won business consultations from the Tartu Business Advisory Service, Cleantech Estonia – Climate Launchpad 2022 TOP20, and a pass to the Prototron fall program alongside sTARTUp Day 2022 tickets courtesy of Swedbank.
Team Leccy with their prototype
Team members: Siim, Karl, Matis, Aleksander and Ann-Gretel.
SECOND RUNNER UP: STARTUS
According to market research the team conducted, 23% of people have been involved in volunteering and even more want to help out somewhere, but they either don't know how or don't have a lot of time to commit regularly.
STRATUS developed the prototype of an app that helps match volunteers with suitable opportunities to help. It’s like Tinder for volunteering! The app will include offers from NGOs that regularly need new volunteers, corporations looking for help in various projects or events, and requests for help from individuals, for example, if an elderly person needs help grocery shopping. All volunteers will have to verify their identity using the Estonian eID system to ensure the safety of everyone.
Tartu City will support the further development of this idea. In addition, they won business consultations from the Tartu Business Advisory Service, tickets to Impact Day, accessibility-focused consultations from the Dementia Competency Centre, and an opportunity to pitch at sTARTUp Day 2022 at the CREATIVE track courtesy of the Tartu Centre for Creative Industries.
Team members: Stefan, Merey, Fidan and Thomas.
FAVOURITE OF THE AUDIENCE: Radu
The idea for Radu came from a practical need for a safe way of storing and locking bikes, especially in apartment buildings where you either have to carry the bike up and down many flights of stairs or lock it outside where it might get stolen. In fact, at least one bike is reportedly stolen every day in Tartu.
Radu is a bike locker that fits seven bikes in the width of one car parking space. The locker has a weather-proof cover and the spots are designated to ensure cyclists always have a space to leave their bikes.
They won an opportunity to go to discussions with Tartu Kaubamaja to trial their solution.
Team members: Tauno, Karl, Tõnis and Karl.
SPECIAL MENTION: SolarInfra
SolarInfra built a matchmaking platform that brings together organizations and municipalities looking for funding for infrastructure projects with investors. Investments are backed by solar energy.
Team members: Tarvo, Emil and Georgi.
Kärro built a trailer that attaches to city bikes. This allows cyclists to transport things that are too big for the front basket without having to rent a car or take a taxi. They came to the hackathon to solve a practical problem and build something for the community. They brought their prototype to Paranduskelder and aim to teach other people how to build the trailers.
Team Kärro’s pitch
Team members: Madis, Katlin and Paulina – who seem to share the same taste in music.
Tesla is launching a fully electric semi-truck at the end of the year. These have the longest range of electric semis on the market and according to the team lead Pekka, they will be quite popular. Unfortunately, we’re not yet equipped to service them. Team slide-in created modelled a station for electric semis, equipped with modern solutions and smart charging.
Team members: Aneth and Pekka.
CrossInTime uses train GPS data to provide notifications when a train is approaching. This will both help prevent accidents and plan the fastest navigation routes. They plan on pitching the idea to navigation apps such as Waze.
Team members: Alexey, Aljona and Tiit.
The Tartu Urban Space Hackathon was organized by Tartu City and Garage48 with the support of Swedbank.
Huge thank you to our community partners as well for putting up prizes, giving teams access to their services, treating participants with goodies and helping us with communication: Fyma, Tartu Kaubamaja, Cleantech Estonia, Dementia Competency Centre, Playtech Estonia, Tartu Business Advisory Services, Click & Grow, Eesti Puuetega Inimeste Koda, Impact Day, Punch Club, Tartu Centre for Creative Industries, and A. Le Coq.