The Asian Development Bank is seeking applications for its Smart Cities Datathon Challenge 2021 to Build Back Smarter: Digital Solutions for Livable Cities
Asian Development Bank


The Asian Development Bank is seeking applications for its Smart Cities Datathon Challenge 2021 to Build Back Smarter: Digital Solutions for Livable Cities.

Cities around the world are still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Recovery will most likely be much longer and more challenging than initially expected, with vaccines only covering parts of the populations and new COVID-19 strains and other diseases emerging concurrently.

Consequently, many cities will have to develop new means of safeguarding citizens’ health and livelihoods in both the shorter- and longer-term, which takes into consideration the need for social distancing, online services, and protective measures for the most vulnerable groups.

Digitalization and online services have been crucial components in supporting healthcare systems and communication with citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Digitalization, online and touchless services, etc. are expected to remain crucial components of future-proofed, resilient societies and help them to “build back smarter.” To be truly resilient and smart, cities need to ensure that the accessibility and inclusivity of solutions are given the highest priority.

With that in mind, solutions will absolutely need to factor in the “Building Back Smarter” situation that is social distancing, online services, and protective measures; which will require developing:

  • effective methods to monitor and secure access to basic services to vulnerable groups
  • improved measures for prevention, preparedness, and response to similar challenges
  • data analytics to identify lasting consequences of the pandemic

Focus areas

To build back smart, how can digital solutions be used to make cities more livable with a focus on one or more of the following:

  • Access to Urban Services and Amenities
  • Participation and influence in the decision-making process
  • Improving financial access

Funding Information

USD 20,000 will be awarded to the best solution!

Eligibility Criteria

This Challenge is open to the general public from ADB member countries. Teams may be composed of between 1-5 persons. The Challenge is also offered to:

  • Startups  
  • University Students and Faculty
  • Research Organizations and Independent Researchers
  • Corporate Partners

Selection Criteria

Up to 5 finalist teams will be invited to pitch online in front of a panel of esteemed judges made of representatives from ADB, the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, UN-Habitat, Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand, and the Bandung City Government.

Judging Criteria

The projects will be assessed following the criteria below:

  • Business Value - 30%
    • Value provided in giving businesses a solution to make tourists feel secure and well-informed, at the same time share/exchange information to other areas, establishments, or businesses
  • Operational Feasibility and Scalability - 30%
    • Viability of solutions to be implemented across Southeast Asia
  • User Experience - 20%
    • Usability, ease of use
  • Technical Competency - 20%
    • Features and the underpinning technology

For more information, visit Asian Development Bank.