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Seattle tech companies team up with city to tackle earthquakes, homelessness, more

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

As part of Seattle’s Innovation Advisory Council, Mayor Jenny Durkan unveiled a handful of collaborations with local tech companies to tackle everything from homelessness to earthquake safety.

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The IAC was formed through an executive order from Mayor Durkan in August 2018, with the stated goal to “ensure that the City is well prepared to use data and technology solutions on the City’s challenges, including the delivery of basic services, the housing and homelessness crisis and mobility and transportation issues.”

Members of the council include representatives from Amazon, Expedia, Tableau, Microsoft, Zillow, and more.

Seven total projects were unveiled, designed to tackle many of the issues most prevalent in Seattle right now.

Notably, Zillow partnered up with the city Office of Housing and Housing Connector on an app to provide information for affordable housing in Seattle. Zillow hopes to expand the app out to other cities in the near future.

Elsewhere, Amazon Web Services and Twitter teamed up on a prototype for an early earthquake warning system. The plan is to eventually “help prepare for a successful launch to the general public in the Pacific Northwest.”

Homelessness was also an especial focus of the council, marked by a collaboration among Amazon, Tableau, and UW’s Information School Capstone Program. The project establishes a Homelessness Data Model to automate a manual process to help track investments in homeless services.

“We are fortunate have the most innovative and forward-looking companies and workers anywhere in the world right here in our backyard working with us on these projects. Working together, we are making progress,” said Mayor Durkan in a news release.

You can check out the full list of projects, along with their descriptions, on the IAC’s web portal here.