Philadelphia has a growing software development community. Unfortunately, the blacks and Latinos who make up 50 percent of city’s population have very little stake in it.
So recently, Youngjin Yoo, a professor at Temple University working on an Urban Apps and Maps Studio, approached Knight Foundation with an idea: to use the studio as a place where digitally-native youth from underserved communities - themselves heavy tech and media consumers - can work alongside developers, business people, and designers and create apps that address urban issues.
The result is new Knight funding that will bring 300 high school and college age youth to Temple over the next three summers for a six-week program. Classes will offer training in design innovation, digital mapping, digital storytelling, and applications development. About a dozen will then become year-round community fellows working with the university to create apps that solve urban challenges.
Putting these young Philadelphians at the center of the design process we hope will help ensure that the apps reflect the needs of the communities they seek to serve.