Submission

title
Decipher Austin
short description
This is for citizens within Greater Austin MSA to anonymously log in and report about interpersonal encounters and comfort within Austin.
Which focus area(s) does this proposed app address?
Technology
Education
Health
Public Safety
How will your app make an impact?
DecipherAustin.com aims to better hold city officials accountable by improving communication between city officials and Austin residents in three ways. 1) It focuses on the everyday experiences while allowing users to express their experience of their multiple, overlapping identities, such as race, gender, and immigration status. 2) This platform allows users to interact on their terms instead of relying on the traditional methods of meetings, office visits, protests, and social events, which reproduce old patterns which have led to marginalization. 3) It will be a way to track and archive the transition of places aggregated in real time as properties are turned over, buildings are demolished, people displaced and schools are closed. Ultimately, DecipherAustin will allow more underprivileged citizens to provide feedback on their experiences as Austinites without having to fight traffic to attend meetings where they may feel further marginalized, and without defensiveness from others who might disagree with their experiences.
Why is your app next-generation?
This a fortunate time, as the City of Austin has issued a new draft of its land use and development code, CodeNext, and has been accused of bias by the newly-formed Task Force on Institutional Racism. DecipherAustin.com is a way to enhance citizen participation without excessive encroachment on time for citizens to be heard, and for the city to respond to a growing poor reputation for addressing inequity. Currently, there are no apps that provide experiences from marginalized populations that hold government responsible, and there is mounting tension on a national level. Census data does not effectively incorporate multiracialism and was created without motivation of total participation, i.e. women, people of color, and poorer populations. Also, this data is only gathered every ten years, which creates woefully inaccurate pictures of the population in an area. For example, how could Austin 2000 be compared with Austin 2010 be compared with Austin 2017?
Tell us about your superhero team.
Trae Cadenhead is an app developer and consultant with more than 10 years of experience working with businesses and non-profit organizations. He graduated from Union University with a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Studies. He loves his family, stories and good conversations. Jamie DeAngelo is a graphic designer and spatial analyst in the Public Works Department of the City of Austin. She is interested in the history, policy, and planning of public transportation. Jamie has a Masters of Science in Community and Regional Planning, specializing in historic preservation from the University of Texas. Jonathan Lowell is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Geography and Environment. He is interested in how certain foodways claim legitimacy over others in the urban sphere as well as the myriad ways food intersects with urban dynamics. Stephanie Webb is a customer service representative with over 10 years of experience in receiving customer feedback on government services. She has a Masters of Science in Geographic Information Services with focuses in Business and Planning. She enjoys endurance sports and being outdoors in general, and works towards the comfort of everyone being able to do so without issue.
Accessibility and Inclusion
Because most people have access to a smartphone, everyone can provide feedback wherever one is at all times with this app. We are working to include translation services so that we can get as much ESL feedback as possible, as Austin has an international reputation. We will work to include all bus stops so that we can get more information on how all Austinites get around the city, as well as including transit accessibility for those with disabilities. Additionally, we will reach out to leaders within marginalized communities to achieve maximum participation.
If your team wins, what will the prize money be used for?
First and foremost, we would incorporate our entity. Since much of our data is pulled from Google, we will expand our data subscription with Google. We need to add email service as well as pay for a server. To develop a stand-alone app as opposed to a web app, we would need to purchase the Apple/Google app developer services. While some coding for the app is being pulled from existing sources, there is implicit racial bias in the tech world as demonstrated by their hiring and geographic placement bias. Consequently, there are some business types which need to be added (cultural centers, ice cream shops, credit unions, etc.) and translations which need to be tweaked. Last but certainly not least, we would need to pay wages for our team and other consultants, such as web designers and translators. Too often, the voice of the marginalized is disregarded because it is undervalued by municipalities. Paying wages of the team which acquired the perspective indicates that the city is willing to engage with those communities on a professional level.
Optional: Please share any relevant documents about your app concept.
Challenge Submission.pdf

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