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Submission

title

Project Imparity: Afford, Not Ignored

short description

Project Imparity informs people about rising prices in their neighborhoods and helps those who are facing a housing crisis.

Which focus area(s) does this proposed app address?

Technology
Public Safety

How will your app make an impact?

As one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, Austin is seeing not only an increase in population, but in cost of living as well. Factors such as gentrification, the redevelopment of urban neighborhoods with an influx of affluent residents, force many less-wealthy families to move out of their homes or even become homeless. Project Imparity impacts where people live, so it can be put into the Transportation, Education, and Public Safety categories. This project has great potential to help reduce the city’s housing issue, especially with the recent news of Mayor Steve Adler’s task force dedicated to solving Austin’s displacement problem. Urban growth is without a doubt beneficial to Austin, but we want to minimize its consequences on low-income families and local culture. Project Imparity’s mission is to inform people about rising prices in their neighborhoods as well as to help those who are facing a housing crisis. Not only will Project Imparity provide real-time housing price data, but it will also help people locate affordable housing and property tax budgeting, as well as reach out to housing organizations and city council representatives. It can also serve the city government to identify which areas are currently facing large socioeconomic issues and to plan how to help those areas.

Why is your app next-generation?

Project Imparity will use Google Maps to load real-time data in order to keep its info updated and reliable. We currently use the Fusion Tables API to pull data from a spreadsheet and display it on a website, so gigabit internet would greatly improve the app’s performance and accuracy. Not only will the app provide information on housing price increases, but also the factors contributing to them, such as median income and graduation rates. Project Imparity allows people to take action; it serves as an outlet between citizens and the government by letting people directly contact city district representatives for aid, or even attend city hall meetings to voice their concerns. The app can be accessed by anyone, whether it be an individual moving to Austin who’s searching for a cheap place to live, a city employee helping a family find affordable housing, or a government worker wanting to know which city neighborhoods need more assistance. Project Imparity can even help gigabit providers plan where and at what cost to provide accessible gigabit services to everyone, especially to communities in need.

Tell us about your superhero team.

Our team is a group of interns who met at the City of Austin’s Communications and Technology Management (CTM) department. Entrusted with a mission to develop a product to improve the lives of Austinites, we wanted to have our project do something about Austin’s rapidly increasing housing prices, especially after hearing a passionate speech by a homeless veteran over affordable housing in a city hall meeting. This project has won the Innovators award in the internship startup pitch competition and has teamed up with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA). Our team consists of 5 passionate students with a variety of skills. Our leader, Arian, brought us all together and spearheads this project. Ivan is the researcher, Kieran and Fakhri are in charge of collecting and sorting the data, and Helen does the frontend and backend development. In just 6 weeks we were able to complete a working prototype of the Project Imparity website, and are now looking at an app version to further develop the project.

Accessibility and Inclusion

Project Imparity’s spirit is all about accessibility and inclusion, especially for underserved communities in Austin. Rises in housing costs and taxes tend to displace low-income minority families out of local neighborhoods. We want this app to enable a way for these people to stay in their neighborhoods and protect Austin’s unique culture, as well as provide an outlet for their voices to be heard. Project Imparity is meant to be accessed by anyone from anywhere with Internet connection. Right now, the app has a website version (projectimparity.github.io), so once the app has been developed, even if people don’t have cell phones, it can be accessed on a computer.

If your team wins, what will the prize money be used for?

We’ll use the prize money to gain access to data hidden behind paywalls to improve Project Imparity’s map calculations and data. We’ll also hire some external assistance specializing in incorporating real-time data and database information.

Optional: Please share any relevant documents about your app concept.

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