Mayor's Innovation Challenge - Categories

Mayor's Innovation Challenge - Categories

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Challenge Categories

The Mayor's Innovation Challenge is a competition calling on teams of students from Kingston's major post-secondary institutions – St. Lawrence College, Queen's University, and Royal Military College – to submit innovative proposals to address a challenge faced by the city.

In this year's competition, there are two distinct streams. The Dunin-Deshpande Smart Cities Stream has one challenge category, while the Public Sector Innovation Stream has three. If you choose to take on a Public Sector Innovation Stream challenge, remember to consider the $10,000 implementation budget in your proposal.

The Dunin-Deshpande Smart Cities Stream

The Smart Cities Challenge is calling on creative minds to leverage emerging technologies and develop new innovations that enhance the delivery of municipal services. With access to the City's extensive open data portal and with the City of Kingston as a potential first customer, this challenge aims to give entrepreneurs a chance to develop and pilot their solutions to advance Kingston as a smart and livable 21st century city.

Experience from the past seven years at QICSI has shown that teams with a diverse, interdisciplinary make-up have been very successful at developing a socially desirable product. Therefore, a multidisciplinary approach is highly encouraged in pitches for the Smart Cities Challenge.

Submission Deadline: Jan. 23, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.

The Public Sector Innovation Stream

The Public Sector Innovation stream offers a wide-range of challenges inclusive to students from all academic backgrounds. Topics to be covered are environmental sustainability, long-term health care, urban design and the revitalization of shared spaces.

Submission Deadline: Jan. 23, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.

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Challenge Information

Smart Cities Challenge

As part of building a smart, livable, 21st century city, how can the City of Kingston leverage emerging technologies and innovations to disrupt and enhance the services delivered to our residents?

Supporting information

Current City of Kingston examples

  • Honk App: Residents and visitors can seamlessly search, pay for and top up parking from a phone, tablet or computer
  • Sewer overflow: Users can consult our real-time sewer overflow map before they swim at certain locations at Lake Ontario within 48 hours of a heavy rainfall
  • Real-time Transit Data: Kingston Transit passengers receive real-time arrival and departure information for all Kingston Transit routes using their computer, smartphone, tablet or with their preferred transit app.

Open Data Portal

  • Land Use Designation
  • Project Status Reports
  • Election Results Archive
  • Transit Bus Routes (GRFS-static)
  • Transit Bus Stops (GRFS-static)
  • Transit Vehicle Positions, Trip Updates, & Service Alerts (GTFS-realtime)
  • Road Surface
  • Paths
  • Parks
  • Parking Areas
  • Driveways
  • Buildings
  • Sidewalk Surface
  • Road Segments
  • Consolidated Zoning Boundaries
  • Cycling Facilities
  • Trails
  • Civic Addresses
  • Municipal Boundary
  • Neighbourhoods
  • Waterbody
  • River Segments
  • Points of Interest
  • Electoral Districts
  • 3D modelling of the City Streetscape (coming soon)
  • Satellite Imagery (for use on 2D maps) (coming soon)

Public Sector Challenge 1: Engaging residents in long-term care

Social isolation and loneliness are two of the most significant risk factors facing long-term care residents. How can we better engage the Rideaucrest Home through programming, technology, or other means to ensure they are involved and socially connected?

Supporting Information

Rideaucrest Home is a City-owned, non-profit long-term care facility. It overlooks Kingston's beautiful inner-harbour just three blocks from the city's downtown core. Rideaucrest Home is responsible for the care for a vulnerable population with a variety of health challenges, including dementia, multiple sclerosis, and mental illness. The residents of Rideaucrest require specialized programming to ensure they remain connected and engaged with each other and the world around them. The City of Kingston is calling on innovative ideas related to programming, technology, or other opportunities to engage the long-term care residents of Rideaucrest. Examples of potential focus areas include:

  • High rates of depression and declining mental health among Long-Term Care Home residents;
  • Dementia, Alzheimer's, and other cognitive difficulties that affect mental health;
  • Social isolation and a lack of connection to the surrounding community;
  • Lack of skills training, especially relating to technology;
  • Developing techniques to enhance non-verbal sensory responses (i.e. Snoezelen Multi-Sensory Environments).

Public Sector Challenge 2: Revitalizing public spaces

The City of Kingston is calling on students to outline a feasible ‘reimagining' of a public space. Using the concepts of placemaking and tactical urbanism, how could the City propose redesigning one of its public spaces into a welcoming, interactive, attractive, and pedestrian-friendly experience?

Supporting Information

A variety of approaches can be used to revitalize and beautify public spaces for community use. The concept of placemaking capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential to create public spaces that promote sociability, health, happiness, and well-being. The approach of tactical urbanism often involves experimenting with a collection of low-cost, temporary changes and interventions to the built environment to enhance spaces for community use that may eventually be transformed in more permanent ways based on what is learned Action-driven, these approaches can be city, organizational, and/or citizen-led efforts to neighbourhood building and can shift how communities think about collaboration and urban change.  Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Temporary public art installations that invite interaction
  • Scheduled street closures for community events and/or new uses for the space
  • Reshaping a space for programming opportunities
  • Installing temporary fixtures/furniture to increase accessibility and use  of an underutilized space
  • Use of vacant storefronts for cultural and community events


Current City of Kingston examples

  • "Paved Paradise" temporary art installation adjacent to the parking lot at Ontario & Brock streets

Community examples

  • Sydenham Street Revived
  • PARK(ing) Day
  • Storefront Fringe Festival
  • North King's Town


Public Sector Challenge 3: Reducing carbon emissions

The City of Kingston is challenging students to develop innovative solutions to reduce carbon emissions in our community. This challenge involves three potential focus areas for consideration:

  • Electric Vehicle Adoption
  • Single-use Plastics Reduction
  • Community Bikeshare Optimization

Supporting Information

Climate change is one of the most significant global threats to our quality of life. Our children and our grandchildren's economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being hinges on our ability to take action and realize sustained greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. It will take all of us working together at a global, national and community level to effect the change that is needed.

In 2014, Council endorsed its first Kingston Climate Action Plan (KCAP) and set out targets for reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 15% and 30% by 2020 and 2030 respectively. Since that time, municipal departments, local businesses, institutions, community organizations and residents have undertaken many initiatives that, in conjunction with the greening of Ontario's electrical supply, have contributed to reducing community emissions by 12% as of 2015.

Electric Vehicle Adoption

The City of Kingston is in the process of installing 48 public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at 21 locations, making it easier than ever to own and operate an EV. How could we better leverage this charging station network to encourage greater EV adoption in Kingston?

Single-use plastics reduction

Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These are items like plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soft drink and water bottles and most food packaging. How can we discourage the use of single-use plastics and/or reduce single-use plastic waste and litter through various initiatives, educational campaigns, policies, or otherwise?

Community bikeshare optimization

A community bike-share program is a system of bicycles available for short-term rental that allows users to pick up a bicycle at one location and drop it off at another. The system used in Kingston is provided through a license to a private service provider (Dropbike Mobility Inc.) and is "dockless" or "stationless", meaning the bike-share system has no physical pay stations, but instead has designated zones or racks (called havens) where bikes will be placed and locked, ready for the next rider. Payments for bicycle use are made through a smartphone app.

How can the City optimize the placement of bikes and havens to ensure maximum ridership and convenience for users? How can the City, together with its bike share service provider, offer additional levels of service, technology or products to better promote the system as an alternative to automobile usage?