The Healthy Neighbourhoods Data Challenge
Identify and create novel data sets, data sources, and analytical methodologies to better understand the physical environment so that we can design healthier neighbourhoods.
Who Should Participate?
- Public sector institutions
- Private sector organizations
- General public
- Phase 1 (up to five $10,000 awards): provide data
- Phase 2 ($50,000 award): add additional features
- Post-challenge: validation, scaling, and adoption-oriented activities
What’s Happening Now?
Congratulations to the winner of the Challenge: Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health! Read more about their innovative solution here.
Urban sprawl and the convenience of various technologies has led to increasingly sedentary lifestyles, reduced physical activity and easier access to unhealthy food. Studies in Canada have also shown that chronic diseases and conditions linked to unhealthy living are on the rise.
Improving our neighbourhoods to reverse this trend is the obvious answer — but we need to better understand our physical environment to do this effectively and efficiently. In other words, we need to assess critical elements of our neighbourhoods that have positive or negative effects on both individual residents and the larger community.
MaRS is looking for innovators to identify and/or create new data sets, data sources and methodologies to improve our understanding of physical environments and promote healthy living. The relationship between space and the health of residents is complex. However, with the right design fueled by the right data, we can improve our neighbourhoods by giving people healthier choices.
What are the Data Gaps?
There is a lack of relevant, easily accessible, up-to-date and scalable information sources that can define and quantify our physical environment. This has limited the ability of community builders and other stakeholders to make informed decisions. Given these limitations, we now have an opportunity to create new data sources and tap into existing ones to enhance our understanding of communities and begin to design neighbourhoods that improve people’s health.
This challenge is aimed at identifying data sets, data sources and methodologies that will provide a deeper understanding of the physical environment and improve health outcomes in our neighbourhoods.
Phase 1 – data
Innovators will provide data and/or methodologies to unlock critical insights and quantify different elements of the physical environment. These neighbourhood design elements will have identified linkages to health outcomes.
Innovators will choose neighbourhood design elements, sub-elements, and design metrics, as well as provide data (where each data point maps to a location and time). Refer to the Data Sources Document and Neighbourhood Design Dataset files provided in the Resources tab for additional instructions.
Below are the five neighbourhood design elements and their sub-elements.
- Walkability: Urban/rural comparison, Street/community design, Other
- Food environment: Food sources, Food establishment turnover, Other
- Active transportation: Transit infrastructure, Cycling infrastructure, Walking infrastructure, Other
- Green/blue spaces: Green spaces, Blue spaces, Street-side features, Other
- Air quality: Indoor air quality, Outdoor air quality, Other
Submissions will be evaluated by an external panel of expert judges. Up to five $10,000 awards will be given to each challenge finalist for use in the continued development of their submission during Phase 2.
Data from Phase 1 submissions will be compiled and used to generate a publicly accessible visualization tool.
Phase 2 – additional features
Finalists will augment their Phase 1 submission by adding a qualitative layer to their chosen neighbourhood design element(s) and associated design metrics. For example, this can include information on microscale features of green or blue space (e.g. number of park amenities) or demographic information (e.g. types of park users).
Submissions will be evaluated by an external panel of expert judges. One $50,000 award will be available for the challenge winner. The winner will also have the opportunity to scale and integrate their concept into existing public health surveillance systems.
The Challenge winner and Phase 1 finalists will have an opportunity to validate connections between neighbourhood design elements and health outcomes, and engage in activities related to adoption and use of their work by community builders in the design of neighbourhoods.
Phase 1 Launch (06/06/2019)
Phase 1 Submission Deadline (24/10/2019)
Phase 1 Finalists Announced (25/11/2019)
Phase 2 Launch (06/01/2020)
Phase 2 Submission Deadline (09/04/2020)
Winners Announcement (04/06/2020)
Required for Submission
You may only enter the Challenge if at the time of entry you meet all of the below requirements:
- You are a legal resident of Canada
- You are at least 18 years old or the age of majority in the province or territory where you reside
- You are not an employee of MaRS, or the Public Health Agency of Canada, and you are not the immediate family member of any such employee
Both individual and team submissions are welcome.
If you are applying as a member of a team, note that only one submission is required. Please identify a primary contact person on your team when completing the submission form. We ask that all team members sign up for individual profiles on marschallenges.com. There is no limit to the number of people on a team.
The innovator will retain all intellectual property rights.
No. All submissions are kept private and no details are shared with other competitors.