A global climate hackathon in Tallinn to focus on mobility

The Estonian capital, Tallinn, is joining more than 100 cities around the world to host a 24-hour hackathon, Climathon, that is dedicated to solving climate challenges.

Climathon is a global movement that gathers experts, students, startups, think tanks, innovators and developers around the world to find innovative solutions for environmental problems in their cities.

In Tallinn, the hackathon will focus on mobility – on promoting walking, cycling and public transport, and reducing the number of cars. It will look how and with which solutions it is possible to reach different target groups, to form attitudes and habits, and to crush myths about car-oriented mindset and the urban environment.

“Building more roads and offering larger free parking spaces have not resolved traffic congestion issues nor environmental problems in any city. This is no task well solved by just offering free public transportation,” the organisers behind the Tallinn hackathon said in a statement. “It is necessary to gain further understanding of the reasons for the rapid motorisation of the Tallinn region and what needs to be done in order to make public transportation, walking and cycling more attractive than habit of driving from door-to-door.”

Changing the city environment

According to the organisers, “moving around Tallinn by any form of transport is difficult, inefficient, stressful and time-consuming”. The hackathon will aim to find answers to several questions: Can all these forms be developed equally? How much does a car-oriented city cost to the public sector, businesses and families? Will Tallinn evolve towards becoming a car-dependent city? Does Tallinn need bolder decisions to become a city that is not car-oriented? How to make proposals more attractive for decision-makers and how to communicate the need for a change?

The organisers said that as it stands, the development of public transport and cycling paths has not had a significant impact on car use in Tallinn. “We have the knowledge, goals and examples from other cities, but these have not been implemented to change the city environment.”

Tallinn’s Climathon, taking place from 26-27 October, is organised by Cleantech ForEst, an Estonian non-profit that funds early stage green technology startups, advances environmental education and supports energy experts.

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Cover: A Tallinn tram (the image is illustrative/Wikimedia Commons).

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About the author: Silver Tambur

Silver Tambur is the cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Estonian World. He has previously studied journalism at the University of Tartu, and Politics & Society at the Birkbeck College, University of London. Silver has been the editor at the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s news service in English, as well as contributing for the Business Sense magazine in the UK, Deutsche Welle and Radio New Zealand. You can also follow him on Twitter. You can write to Silver at silver@estonianworld.com.