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Press Release

De Blasio Administration and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez Announce Formation of Local Advisory Board for Civic Technology Program in Inwood

Jul 31 2018

Growing Group of Local Leaders, Civic Entrepreneurs and Nonprofit Organizations to Steer Neighborhood-Focused Technology Advancement and Education Program in Inwood

This Initiative Builds on Inwood NYC, an Multi-Year Neighborhood Planning Initiative to Ensure Affordability, Modernize Antiquated Infrastructure, and Promote Economic Development in the Inwood Community

NEW YORK, NY—The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO), and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez today announced the initial set of organizations participating in NYCx Co-Labs programming in the neighborhood of Inwood, located in Northern Manhattan.

“NYCx Co-Labs in Inwood presents great opportunities for connecting New Yorkers with STEM and exposing them to the practical applications of technology as solutions in their everyday life,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “The Inwood Advisory Board is a representative of initiative and the hardworking spirit of Inwood. With a mix of service providers and STEM education organizations, participants will be guided to consider the primary concerns of their immediate community and how to find solutions through technology that can benefit many others beyond their neighborhood and around the world.

“The creation of the Inwood NYCx Co-lab in Inwood is a major step toward improving quality of life for local residents, strengthening the community’s relationship with the urban tech sector and creating real-life solutions based on community input,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “As we witnessed in Brownsville, the NYCx Co-lab has the potential to convene community and industry leaders to solve unique local challenges. I look forward to working with MOCTO and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez on this innovative effort.”

“We’re excited to bring together a knowledge, passionate group of Inwood organizations and residents who will be stewards of the NYCx Co-Lab in Inwood,” said José Serrano-McClain, Program Director, NYCx Co-Labs, Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer. “This group will ensure that the program delivers new technologies that are responsive to the needs of the neighborhood and informs future initiatives to serve other communities across New York City.”

Led by the MOCTO, NYCx Co-Labs convenes local residents, government, academia, and the tech community to identify, co-develop, and launch technology pilots and education programs that benefit high-need, high-opportunity neighborhoods and address their most pressing needs.

MOCTO is collaborating with community-based organizations (CBOs) in Inwood to assemble a local advisory board that will guide the NYCx Co-Lab program activities and advance opportunities to improve the neighborhood with the introduction of new technologies. The board will help identify community issues that technology solutions can help resolve, vet proposals, and guide implementation of selected pilots.

The advisory board members will be finalized at the end of August. Thus far, the organizations that will be involved represent a diverse mix of interests and perspectives, including organizations with missions ranging across community economic development, health, environment, education, culture, media, and technology.

The NYCx Co-Lab in Inwood advisory board will include the following members and organizations:

"As an organization rooted in the struggles facing immigrant communities in Northern Manhattan, we feel a responsibility to elevate the perspectives and voices of those communities in the discussions over the technological future of our city" said Maria Lizardo, Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation. "NMIC is looking forward to partnering with the City and other organizations in and around Inwood to fulfill the promise of 'technology for all'."

“Friends of Sherman Creek Conservancy is a volunteer-led organization that recognizes the critical role that environmental stewardship and education plays in building a just and livable city,” said Obed Fulcar, Founder, Friends of Sherman Creek Conservancy. “We are energized by the prospect of participating in the local advisory board for the NYCx Co-Lab in Inwood to ensure that the neighborhood continues to develop itself as a beacon for sustainable living.”

"NYC FIRST is excited to get more involved in Inwood and Washington Heights through our STEM education programs and robotics competitions, in which over 500 teams from across the five boroughs compete,” said Michael Zigman, President & CEO of NYC FIRST. “We hold New York City's marquee robotics competition each year at the Fort Washington Armory and are looking forward to doing even more with these two communities in Upper Manhattan."

NYCx Co-Lab will also introduce challenges calling on the technology community, startups, and entrepreneurs to build new technologies that can be deployed in a real-world setting. Winning proposals will be awarded City funding and access to municipal infrastructure and neighborhood spaces to test and build solutions developed to respond to specific community needs. In early 2019, the program will launch the first NYCx Co-Lab Challenge in Inwood.

In addition to the initial advisory board members announced today, MOCTO will add up to eight additional individuals that would be selected through an application process. 

Participants will be selected based on their knowledge of the community and their potential to think creatively about the application of technology to address neighborhood needs. A background in technology is not a requirement.

For those who are interested in applying, MOCTO will host an open information session about the program and answer questions about the application process at the New York Public Library, Inwood Library at 4790 Broadway on Saturday, August 18th at 3pm.

In the fall, MOCTO will convene advisory board members to participate in a series of in-depth workshops to discuss pressing needs in the community and the potential for new technologies to address those needs. The workshops will also serve as a platform to research priorities for technology pilots and strengthen the group’s relationship with City agencies to launch an Inwood-based civic tech challenge.

The Inwood NYCx Co-Lab is a key component of the Inwood NYC neighborhood planning initiative. The initiative includes three years of engagement with over 2,500 residents, community stakeholders, and elected officials to explore solutions to issues such as affordability, infrastructure and workforce development to ensure that Inwood remains an affordable, attractive neighborhood for working and immigrant families.

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.