Contestants create data-driven concepts for a barrier-free campus in Feb. 17-18 diversity hackathon

Bara Safarova

Using their digital and artistic skills, contestants vied for $5,000 in prize money by creating data-sourced concepts for a Texas A&M University campus free of physical and virtual barriers to the disabled as part of the Feb. 17-18, 2017 Diversity Accessibility Hackathon hosted by the Texas A&M College of Architecture Diversity Council.

The 22-hour event kicked off in third-floor studios of the Langford Architecture Center’s Building A when the accessibility-related challenges were announced. Hackathon participants, teamed in groups as large as eight, were tasked with developing wide-ranging solutions to enhance campus accessibility for all, such as architectural or planning proposals, curricula, applications or artistic installations. All kinds of solutions will be welcomed.

To shape their results, teams will mine datasets that shed light on campus barrier issues, such as information available through Texas A&M Data and Research Services, Texas A&M Transportation Services and other public databases.

Contest mentors with experience interpreting large datasets will be available to help teams brainstorm and think creatively.

Entries were evaluated by a jury of university faculty and representatives. An awards ceremony concluded the event.

The College of Architecture Diversity Council hosted the event with the Texas A&M Libraries Maps & GIS Services, the College of Education and Human Development, the Dwight Look College of Engineering, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the College of Geosciences, Department of Geography, and the College of Architecture’s Information Technology Services.

In a 2014 diversity council-hosted hackathon, participants created innovative presentations of diversity-related data.

The council also hosted an “Open Data Build Day” in 2016, in which contestants created data-based, spatially illustrated solutions for diversity-related challenges.

posted February 3, 2017