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URA announces details for 2014 Steel City Codefest


The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) announced that the second annual Steel City Codefest will take place beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22 and run through 2 p.m. on Sunday Feb. 23 at the American Eagle Corporate offices, 77 Hot Metal Street, SouthSide Works.

Steel City Codefest is a civic software application (app) development competition designed to grow the city’s innovation and technology community through the creation of technology infrastructure. The citywide, 24-hour Civic Hackathon brings together coders, designers and community members to create technology that benefits nonprofits and government agencies around the region.

“American Eagle Outfitters is proud to be hosting the 2014 Steel City Codefest and partnering with other technology focused companies who also see the amazing opportunity that the City of Pittsburgh provides,” said Joe Megibow, SVP/GM of Omni-Channel Ecommerce at American Eagle Outfitters. “It is no longer a secret that Pittsburgh has transformed itself from a steel city to a technology focused city with world class educational institutions and a vibrant technology community making it a perfect location for developing and harvesting top tech talent.”

This year’s event will emphasize community impact, and participants will be presented with specific challenges sourced from local non-profits. While participants will have the option to come up with their own ideas, teams are highly encouraged to tackle the suggested challenges as they identify a critical need for a community or organization.

Codefest participants will be provided with available relevant data, and apps will be judged based on their potential for near-term civic impact.

“It’s an app world and Pittsburgh has a role in that - just consider our region’s world-renowned technology sector. At BNY Mellon, we recognize the power of technology to transform lives and connect people throughout the world,” said Kenya Boswell, vice president, BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania. “The 2014 Steel City Codefest is a prime example of how to build engagement and use the collective creativity and intelligence of our community to deliver new solutions.”

Participants will be able to stay overnight in the American Eagle offices to work on their apps.

While diverse skill sets are welcome, participants with backgrounds in technology, design and community development are especially suited for this event, and each collective team will be expected to successfully build an app. In order a grant pool has been established with the help of the Forbes Funds and BNY Mellon Foundation.

“One of the intents of Codefest is to initiate the creation of apps that can be completed and used,” said Tom Link, director, URA’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “To this end, with the help of the Forbes Funds and BNY Mellon Foundation, we have put together a grant pool, which will allow us to support many of the apps to completion.”

“Pittsburgh has an incredible ecosystem of civic technologists, innovators and entrepreneurs who have the desire and the expertise to help city government and our nonprofit community solve problems and improve services,” said Mayor-elect Bill Peduto. “The Steel City Codefest is a great opportunity to break down the walls between sectors and open up the data we collect every day to those who can put it to work for the people of Pittsburgh. I look forward to seeing the results!”

Registration for the 2014 Steel City Codefest begins January 15, 2014 on the Codefest website, Participant registration is $10, which includes food and a T-shirt. Due to space constraints, participation is limited to the first 130 people who register.

This year, participants are asked to form teams before buying tickets. Teams are highly encouraged to purchase tickets at the same time to ensure that all members are able to participate. Individuals who would like to participate but do not have a team can post their skills and find teammates via a Google Doc, found at Teams may include three to six members, and each member must purchase a ticket. For more information on Codefest and how to register, log onto

Codefest was created through a partnership between the URA, the City and Google Pittsburgh. Google continues to be an integral partner in the development and execution of the event. Last year’s inaugural competition was a huge success, selling out in less than three days.


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