9 Urban Apps That Make Cities More Sustainable and Fun

Wonder how to induce new urban cultures within our urban environment towards a more sustainable, livable, and fun city? Synchronizing with the rise of mobile phone and apps technologies, New Cities Foundation together with its media partner Guardian City, introducing a yearly worldwide competition AppMyCity, which rewards new concepts of mobile applications or urban apps that improve the urban experience, connect people, and make cities more fun, fair, vibrant, and sustainable. The competition requires specific urban related ideas to be delivered in a context of technology and mobility, where the app must have a clear focus on cities, with an emphasis on fields such as mobility, sustainability, citizenship, retail, art and entertainment, street food, health, water, or any other city-related topic.



New Cities Foundation organize this competition every year to be featured in their annual New Cities Summit events, which is going to be held in Jakarta in this 2015. (New Cities Summit  is one of leading global events that offers different yearly themes with a vocation to ignite ideas for shaping a better future of the urban world. Their vision is a world where cities drive economic, social and environmental progress).


AppMyCity, as one of New Cities Foundation’s regular programs, introduces a unique urban feature since it recognizes the significant of social medias and mobile culture that we have adopted through the rising people’s dependency on internet technology in the recent decades. With experts projecting that more than one billion people in 2015 will access the Internet only through their mobile gadgets, social websites and apps are indicated to become among the most used features on mobile. According to Jacqueline Woerner, the year 2015 also will inevitably see them becoming the norm and geo-targeted.


Cities matter now more than ever: We have entered the century of cities: the scale and pace of 21st century urbanization is both staggering and unprecedented. The global urban population is growing at a rate of one million people each week and will reach about seven billion by the middle of the century. By 2030, new urban development will cover an area of land equivalent to South Africa or twice the size of France. In China alone, dozens of new cities are being built while all over the world, historic old cities need to be retrofitted to remain livable and competitive and reduce their impact on the environment. This new urban era comes with a host of complex challenges: poverty, social exclusion and environmental degradation, among others. Yet opportunities for positive change abound: urbanization has the potential to correlate not only with sustainability but with wealth-creation, social tolerance, political inclusion and better living standards for all.



AppMyCity would then be a medium for endorsing and promoting urban apps that have great impacts to the new urban life that beneficially works for our urban dynamic. To shape a better future cities, firstly the citizens must adopt a resonating sustainable and cooperative urban cultures. As Andris Zoltner says, “It is not all about incentives. You manage through culture”. Mobile apps and social medias also pragmatically proven to effectively introduce new sustainable urban cultures, which also in time will give a new way of how we experience our cities in our daily life; to have more fun, explorable, enjoyable, healthier, and happier cities.


CarbonDiem (2012 Finalist)

CarbonDiem (London) shows travellers their carbon emissions in real time on their Smartphone. The app works in the background 24/7 detecting a user’s mode of transport and route, this information is then used to calculate the carbon emissions from the journey. Users can then see their emissions, and those of their friends, on a bright and simple interface, making it easy to understand the environmental impact of their travel and helping them make smart travel choices.

Carbon Diem team

CityGardens (2012 Winner)

City Gardens (Paris) helps urban hikers, tourists, mothers, friends, and whoever might be looking for a green space to access pertinent information about the city’s parks, gardens, and squares. Location, opening and closing hours, closest metro and bus stations, possibility for a picnic, toilets, recommended age for children’s games, local history, points of interest, restaurants, etc. All relevant information is combined with a geolocalisation feature allowing people to fully enjoy a moment with nature.

CityGardens team

Paris-ci La Sortie (2012 Finalist)

Paris-ci La Sortie (Paris) alerts you to the nearest exits at every stop on the Metro or Tramway in order to assist you in getting you where you need to go simply and effectively. Waiting times and walking distances are greatly reduced allowing users to save the 2 or 5 minutes needed to avoid missing their next train or be late for an important appointment. It encourages mobility and helps citizens optimise their commuting times.

Paris-ci La Sortie team

BuzzJourney (2013 Finalist)

“The new urban era poses transportation as a more complex challenge than ever.”

Lior Harsat, BuzzJourney, Founder

BuzzJourney from Kfar-Saba, Israel, is a social transportation app that provides information on all means of urban transportation including bus, train, taxi, bike rental and even car sharing.

Colab (2013 Winner)

Colab is a social network for citizenship that helps citizens communicate with government. Their goal is to promote civic engagement and create better cities with citizens and government collaboration.

“It will be an honor to present our social network for citizenship to global leaders in this great event held in our home country this year. We are very confident that this is a huge opportunity to start connect smart citizens to more smart cities worldwide.”

Gustavo Maia, Colab, Co-Founder

PublicStuff (2013 Finalist)

PublicStuff, the New York City based startup that makes a system to let citizens make real-time requests to their local governments for public services.

“This is a great opportunity for us to make our leading civic engagement app available to cities worldwide, and help improve the connection between local governments and residents.”

Lily Liu, CEO and Co-Founder, PublicStuff

Djump: Social RideSharing (2014 Finalist)

Djump (Paris, France /Brussels, Belgium) is a peer-to-peer car sharing service that allows drivers with a car to register, users to request a ride, and drivers to answer the call. It is a mobile application that helps you quickly get around the city thanks to a fresh community of handpicked drivers.

“With Djump we want to bring a unique social experience in a world where travelling alone is over. Our application connects passengers and drivers in real-time to let them share a ride inside the city. We hope AppMyCity! will take us to the next step and help us grow our community.”  

—Tanguy Goretti, Co-founder & CEO of Djump

Peerby (2014 Winner)

Peerby (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is a ’marketplace liquidity hack’ which encourages neighbors to share items. It enables people to borrow the things they need from their neighbours in under 30 minutes. Users post something they want to borrow, and neighbours will get a push notification to which they can respond in a single ​touch. Peerby is a perfect example of how apps can re-imagine urban living, according to John Rossant, one of the judges.

“The timing of this nomination is amazing! We have just created a city program that enables everyone in the world to turn their city into a sharing city. Winning this prize would help us to get the word out and make the world’s cities more inclusive, fun and green.”

Daan Weddepohl, CEO & Founder of Peerby

Social Cyclist (2014 Finalist)

Social Cyclist (New York, USA) is an app that encourages bike riders to map their preferred routes, report hazardous road conditions and vote on their preferred site locations for future cycling infrastructure.While Social Cyclist may not be the first route recording app, it’s the first to leverage that actionable data on a City-wide scale to improve your community. Vote with your wheels and start recording your rides, report road conditions, request bike parking and request bike share stations.

“Our team at Social Bicycles is excited to hear that Social Cyclist has been selected as a finalist for the AppMyCity! contest. Social Cyclist is great fun for individual bike riders and also a great tool for cities to organize campaigns to gather data. We’re looking forward to presenting it in Dallas!”

—The Social Cyclist team



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