Hack for Savannah: Community Resiliency & Disaster Response

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Bull Street Labs

2222 Bull Street

Savannah, GA 31401

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With an epic 8.1 magnitude earthquake rocking parts of Mexico last month, Hurricane Harvey flooding the homes of millions in Houston, Irma engulfing Cuba and battering the entire coastline of Florida, then Maria leaving a catastrophic mark on Puerto Rico just as the island territory was just beginning to recover from its direct-hit from Irma a week earlier, it's never before been more clear the need for our communties to be prepared and responsive in the face of disaster situations.

The recent catastrophic series of natural (and man-made, in Las Vegas) disasters in the last month has catapulted crisis response and urban resiliency to the forefront of national and local dialogue. In turn, Open Savannah has joined forces with Code for Miami and Code for Orlando, both of which also had to postpone their hackathon events due to Irma as well.

The new theme for our first ever civic-hackathon is "Community Resiliency and Crisis Response," and we'll be partnering with CEMA, the City of Savannah and Chatham County to devise solutions to make Coastal Georgia more prepared for future emergency events.

Want to build stuff that matters? Want to have a fun time meeting new interesting and creative people from the Savannah area? Want a chance to win up to $2,500 doing it?

Here’s your chance…

Code for America local brigade Open Savannah’s first-annual “Hack for Savannah”hackathon (see What is a civic hackathon?") is absolutely free to participate in, and the civic apps you build could end up being officially adopted by the City of Savannah or Chatham County.


The first place team will take home $2,500 (split equally among teams), while the second and third place teams will each take home $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. Additionally, the team with the best functional prototype (MVP) will receive a separate cash award of $1,000.

The hackathon is being held in tandem with Code for America’s annual National Day of Civic Hacking, an annual day of action to convene coders, bureaucrats, data scientists, journalists, user experience designers, and community activists to tackle big problems. Join us at Hack for Savannah, where we’ll tackle the twin issues of urban resiliency and disaster response in partnership with Chatham Emergency Management Agency.

How will it work?

Participants will work in teams over two days to develop product and startup ideas that make a difference, with an additional prize bracket for the team with the best functional prototype. Winning teams will receive a total of $6K in cash prizes, courtesy of the generosity of Savannnah Economic Development Authority (SEDA).

You may form your own teams in advance provided that the team is made up of no more than four (4) individuals, and that all four individuals register separately.

If you don’t have a team ahead of time, no fears; most participants won’t. We’ll attempt to assign teams based on roughly equitable skillsets, and additionaly provide each team a “Team Mentor” well-versed in programming to help you along the way and keep teams within scope and time limits.



What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Bull Street Labs is located in the Starland District of midtown Savannah. If taking public transit, the closest bus routes include the 4 Line, which stops at Barnard and 38th Streets, and either the 14 or the 11 lines, both of which stop at Abercorn and 38th Street (one block away).

If driving, be sure not to park in the lot directly opposite the building, as that is a private lot. Generally, there will be plenty of street parking available, and you should have little trouble finding a spot near the location.

Who should come to the event/what if I’m not a coder?

If you’re passionate about Savannah, if you think you can help make it more democratic, and if you believe in the power of code to facilitate change, you should come! Civic hacking and hackathons benefit from participants of all types of backgrounds and levels of expertise. Technologists with advanced, professional skills can take the lead in project design and development. Mid-level members take on tasks that support their learning and contribute to project advancement. Even those with no technological skills at all can play vital roles in researching, designing, and launching projects. Subject-matter experts are essential to the quality, sustainability, and scalability of a project. Content experts and partner organizations contribute extensive, nuanced knowledge of the subject matter; they help guide and structure a project so that it tackles key needs, creating the greatest possible impact.

As with all our events, we require attendees to follow our Code of Conduct.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

You can reach Open Savannah’s Core Leadership team by emailing, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours. If you’d prefer speaking confidentially to the lead event organizer, email Carl V. Lewis at —

© 2017, Open Savannah

  • Scott Craig

    Scott Craig

    Chatham County, Ga Government


  • Jill Gambill

    Jill Gambill

    UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant

    Coastal Community Resiliency Specialist, Public Service Faculty

  • Dennis Knight

    Dennis Knight

    Chatham Emergency Management Agency


  • José Mallabo

    José Mallabo

    ATDC at Georgia Tech

    Startup Catalyst

  • Cam Mathis

    Cam Mathis

    City of Savannah

    Director of Information Technology

  • Christopher Nichols

    Christopher Nichols


    Lead Product Manager

  • Chelsea Sawyer

    Chelsea Sawyer

    Chatham Emergency Management Agency

    Emergency Management Specialist in Community Outreach

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Bull Street Labs

2222 Bull Street

Savannah, GA 31401

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