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Innovative urban apps feature crowdsourcing, virtual reality

With these new smart apps, navigating the concrete urban jungle could become easier, smarter, and more sustainable.

A new wave of cutting-edge apps and platforms rely on crowdsourcing and virtual reality to help cities tackle everything from problem solving to cartography.

Molly Anders reports for Devex on four urban innovations featured at the Lab Laboo Smart Cities Exhibition at the recent Convergences World Forum in Paris.

Smart Favela is an award-winning computer program that uses virtual reality to enable developers to visualise new projects and monitor progress. After taking last year’s Convergence Prize, the software is being utilised by Bordeaux and Paris to assist with city planning, the article says.

Missing Maps relies on community volunteers and aid workers to update maps for cities and other communities impacted by conflict. “Mapathons” have been conducted in cities in Bangladesh and elsewhere to fill in gaps in cartography, the article says.

Co-City is a crowdsourcing and crowdfunding platform that allows users to suggest ways to improve urban life. The site operates in partnership with Paris, but it’s creator, Guillaume Desmoulins, wants to expand internationally, the article says. Desmoulins came up with the idea while interning at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD.

One Heart Spots is a “collaborative platform” that allows people in the developed world to rate businesses and restaurants that have a positive impact on the Global South. For example, users can recommend establishments that emphasise fair-trade and labor rights.

This story was published with permission from Citiscope, a nonprofit news outlet that covers innovations in cities around the world. More at

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