New York City’s public pay telephones (yes, they do still exist) are finally getting a serious upgrade thanks to the winners of the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge, which were announced yesterday. The contest drew engagement from over 125 urban designers, planners, technologists and policy experts who submitted prototypes to imagine the future of the city’s 11,000 payphones. Last night, at social product development company Quirky, the eleven semi-finalists presented their prototype ideas before a panel of judges and the top six submissions were awarded and evaluated against these criteria: connectivity, creativity, visual design, functionality, and community impact. Click through our gallery to see all of the winners!
The challenge drew on the expertise of a panel of judges that included: Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO of Quirky.com; Andrew McLaughlin, entrepreneur in residence at Betaworks; Majora Carter, founder of Startup Box; Jason Goodman, CEO and co-founder of 3rd Ward; Nancy Lublin, CEO of DoSomething.org; and former United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer Beth Noveck.
“New York City’s public pay telephone network has incredible potential,” said Chief Information and Innovation Officer Merchant Rahul N. Merchant. “By collaborating with the City’s vibrant technology community to develop creative and forward-thinking ideas, this infrastructure could become one of our most important technological assets, helping define the 21st Century streetscape in cities around the world.”
According to Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot, the Reinvent Payphones Challenge marks another step forward in Mayor Bloomberg’s roadmap to make New York the world’s leading digital city. The Bloomberg Administration has previously launched free public Wi-Fi hotspots at payphone locations throughout the five boroughs, charging stations around the city, interactive touch screens around Union Square and continues working towards utilizing alternative energy sources aiming to make New York City the ideal launching pad for groundbreaking ideas that will set the global standard.