Hacking The City, the first Italian hackathon on Circular Economy


Tondo – an international non-profit organization operating in the circular economy sector – announces its first hackathon, organized in collaboration with the Circular Economy Lab of Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center and Cariplo Factory and with the patronage of the Cariplo Foundation.

The hackathon, aimed at university students, recent graduates and doctoral students from all over Italy, will see the circular city of the future as the protagonist. With 70% of the population becoming urban by 2050, cities are the starting point for transforming the current economic and social system towards a circular model for a more sustainable, green and inclusive future.

The event, which will be carried out entirely online, was in fact designed to conceive and support innovative and circular projects, involving the main Italian universities and some of the major companies operating in Italy in this area.

“The recent pandemic crisis has highlighted the crisis of some traditional models for the creation of value in favor of some new paradigms, certainly including the circular economy” – comments Carlo Mango, Director of Scientific and Technological Research of the Cariplo Foundation. – “As Fondazione Cariplo, we have long been committed to the development of knowledge and skills in this field and, for this very reason, we are happy to support Hacking the City, an initiative that aims to generate innovative ideas in a circular perspective within the urban system, context destined to be increasingly central in the context of sustainable growth “.

Eight macro-areas have been identified, within which challenges have been defined thanks to the involvement of industrial partners. These are Salvatore Ferragamo for the Consumer Goods area, Esselunga for the Food area, Arup for the Design area, Cisco for the Digital area, Mapei for the Buildings area, IREN for the Energy area, Punch Torino and TO.TEM for the Mobility area, and A2A for the Waste area.

Participants will have the opportunity to put their knowledge and passion for the circular economy into practice and to apply its principles to redesign the urban context by working on predefined challenges. The areas identified are in fact central to the design of the circular city of the future, giving ample space to new technological and digital trends, enabling the transition to the circular economy.

“The circular economy is a radical innovation of the business models of companies, as well as

a strategic driver for investments on the European agenda in the coming years. Thanks to initiatives such as Hacking the City we have the opportunity to redesign a circular urban context, capable of responding to the main economic, social and environmental challenges we are facing ”- says Guido de Vecchi, General Manager of Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center.

In addition to the industrial partners, some of the main Italian universities were involved such as the Polytechnic of Bari, the University of Bari, the University of Bologna, the Insubria University, the Milan Polytechnic School of Management, the University of Genoa, ALMED (High School in Media, Communication and Entertainment), the University of Naples Federico II, the University of Pavia, the University of Pisa, the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, the University of Siena, the University IUAV of Venice and the Ca ‘Foscari University of Venice.

Furthermore, the hackathon foresees a strong involvement of other actors who will support the young participants in the refinement of their projects. Professors, associates of Tondo, team of experts from the Circular Economy Lab, Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center and Cariplo Factory, members of the ASP (Alta Scuola Politecnica) Alumni Association and Global Shapers Torino will be tutors and mentors for the students during the two days.

The challenges have already been published on the hackathon website in order to give potential participants time to develop a possible solution to be completed and refined during the days of the hackathon together with tutors and mentors.

At the end of the 2 days, each team will present a pitch deck that will describe in detail their solution to the selected challenge. A jury of experts, created specifically for each challenge, will analyze the projects and nominate the winning teams. The deserving ones will subsequently be awarded by the companies promoting the challenge; the prizes range from internship opportunities to selected products, to training courses and to accompanying the project idea.

“Hacking The City – Design a Circular future – explains Francesco Castellano, Founder of Tondo – is the first Hackathon with a focus on Circular Cities in Italy and is a unique opportunity to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and equitable economic system, embracing the paradigm shift that the new Circular Economy Action Plan requires. “

Circularity, innovation, relevance and impact will be the criteria that will guide the jury in the selection of the winning teams.

The hackathon is a unique opportunity to accelerate the implementation of the most innovative projects in collaboration with market leaders and represents an opportunity to promote the sharing of knowledge, tools and skills towards a more sustainable and circular city.


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