New York City Tech Ecosystem Study

After creating a landmark study in 2013 that analyzed the size and complexity of the Tech Ecosystem in New York City, HR&A released a new study in 2021 exploring how New York City’s Tech Ecosystem has changed in the last decade.

HR&A worked with a consortium of tech and civic organizations including Association for a Better New York, Tech:NYC, and Google to assess the changing landscape of the tech industry in New York City. Our methodology form 2013 established a new bar for Tech Ecosystem assessments and has been adopted widely in many other cities and has been included in academic literature on the subject. Most Tech Ecosystem studies now use the broader definition we established in 2013, which includes all jobs at tech companies and jobs in tech at companies where tech is not their core business.



This working definition for the “Tech Ecosystem” divided tech into three broad categories

HR&A used this working definition to estimate the number and distribution by occupation and firm type of tech ecosystem jobs, and to model and evaluate the ecosystem’s economic and fiscal impact to the City.

Tech jobs are increasingly prevalent across all sectors in New York City, including in industries not traditionally associated with “tech.” While 65% of tech ecosystem jobs are in tech industries, a notable 35% share of jobs are in non-tech industries. Nearly 1.5X more tech workers are employed in non-tech industries (131,000) than in tech industries (89,000), particularly in sectors that are key to the city’s current and future economic health – healthcare, film and media, finance, and advertising. About 60% of the tech jobs in non-tech industries can be considered “high-tech,”* focused on the creation and management of sophisticated tools, products, systems, and support services, such as network and computer systems administrators, data administrators, information security analysts, and computer and information system managers. In today’s fast-changing world, these digital skills and jobs that leverage technology will only continue to grow in importance in every sector.


New York City’s tech ecosystem generates significant economic and fiscal impacts for the city. The direct, indirect, and induced impacts of the tech ecosystem account for a total of 809,000 jobs, $291 billion in economic output, and $3.63 billion in fiscal revenue for the city and the state.


Tech jobs have larger multiplier effects on employment compared to other industries. The 369,000 direct jobs in the tech ecosystem contribute 440,000 additional multiplier jobs in New York City, representing 15% of the city’s total workforce. In 2013, this share was 13%. Every 1 tech ecosystem job creates an additional 1.2 jobs, considerably higher than other top industries in the city like Finance and Insurance or Professional Services.


The city’s tech ecosystem generates $109 billion in worker earnings from direct and multiplier jobs, equivalent to 16% of the city’s total worker earnings. Of that, $66 billion is generated from direct jobs and $43 billion from additional multiplier jobs. In other words, for every dollar of earnings within the tech industry, an additional $0.65 in earnings is created within the city’s economy.


Economic output from the tech ecosystem accounts for 28% of the city’s overall economic output. This is twice the share of the tech ecosystem’s output in 2013. The tech ecosystem’s $195 billion in direct economic output contributes an additional $96 billion in multiplier effects. In other words, tech ecosystem investments drive additional spending in the New York City economy: every $1 spent in the tech ecosystem supports an additional $0.49 in economic output.


New York City’s tech ecosystem workers also contribute billions of dollars to City and State fiscal revenues in the form of sales and income taxes. In 2021, the tech ecosystem was responsible for $696 million, or 8% of the City’s sales tax revenue, and $1.10 billion or 9% of the City’s income tax revenue. Similarly for New York State, the city’s tech ecosystem generated $677 million in sales tax collections and $1.15 billion in income tax collections. Overall, the tech ecosystem generated $1.80 billion and $1.83 billion in taxes for New York City and New York State, respectively, in 2021, contributing a total of $3.63 billion in fiscal revenues.


Manhattan serves as the nucleus of the tech ecosystem in New York City. Adding 73,000 jobs over the last decade, the borough now contains nearly three quarters of the city’s entire tech ecosystem workforce. Manhattan provides the advantage of density in businesses, workers, and office space and benefits from historic investments in tech incubators, accelerators, and other programs that grow the tech ecosystem. The remaining jobs are distributed across the outer boroughs, of which Brooklyn has the largest share with 12% of tech ecosystem jobs.


Brooklyn experienced the largest percent growth in tech ecosystem jobs of all the boroughs in the last decade. The unprecedented growth of Brooklyn’s tech ecosystem can be attributed to investments in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Brooklyn Tech Triangle over the last ten years. By contrast, Queens, which held a similar share of jobs in 2012, has only added 3,000 tech ecosystem jobs in the last decade. The Bronx and Staten Island have seen no meaningful growth.


The report has been featured in:

The City

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle






Water Street POPS Upgrading Study

 HR&A studied the economic potential of improved privately owned public spaces in Lower Manhattan.

HR&A teamed with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects (BBB) to develop concepts for the improvement of privately owned public spaces, or POPS, along Lower Manhattan’s Water Street. POPS are spaces that are provided and maintained by a private developer or company for public use in exchange for zoning relief. Due to the large quantity of office building stock and its key location between the East River waterfront and the Financial District’s core, Water Street’s competitiveness and brand as a commercial corridor is crucially important to Lower Manhattan’s future.

Water Street’s commercial corridor is characterized by inconsistent and underused retail that is set back from the street.  HR&A worked with New York City Economic Development Corporation and New York City Department of City Planning to develop strategies that use POPS to incentivize private investment in retail and the public realm throughout the Water Street Corridor. HR&A analyzed the retail and restaurant offerings around Water Street, and devised a high-level, stabilized-year cash flow model for new retail space at several POPS to inform a financially viable plan. HR&A also estimated the additional value generated by the proposed upgrades for commercial property owners.  With an overly wide street and underused public spaces, Water Street also has one of the largest concentrations of POPS in New York City. See the full presentation here.

Staten Island Storefronts

Staten Island Storefronts: The Race for Space Competition

HR&A designed and advised on the implementation of a competition to attract catalytic retail businesses and build a neighborhood brand for Downtown Staten Island.

The competition, Staten Island Storefronts: The Race for Space!, addressed high vacancy rates in the Downtown Staten Island area. This innovative economic development initiative, conceived by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), was designed to fill existing storefronts with businesses committed to the neighborhood and invested in its future; enhance retail offerings for local residents and visitors; and capture spending potential from the 2-million annual tourists and 70,000 daily commuters that pass through the area. The competition also builds on the momentum of other planned projects in downtown Staten Island, including the world’s largest Observation Wheel, a new city incubator space, and more than a thousand new housing units planned for the New Stapleton Waterfront.

The competition was run on a first come, first served basis, awarding prize money to all qualified applicants until the $425,000 prize pool was exhausted. HR&A advised NYCEDC on program design, recommended program guidelines and incentives, terms of leases, and award criteria. The competition yielded a diverse mix of businesses, which were required to sign their leases within three months of being designated winners and open their businesses within six months of the commencement of their lease.


In December 2013, NYCEDC awarded the prize money to nine winning businesses, totaling $425,000 to support leasing and capital improvements and leveraging the City’s support toward a total of $11 million in private investment. Together, the nine winners are estimated to occupy over 40,000 square feet of vacant storefront space in Downtown Staten Island, energizing the area and infusing critical economic activity into the waterfront neighborhoods. The winning businesses anticipated hiring 34 full-time and 83 part-time employees and opened their doors in summer of 2014, at which time they received their prize money.


Images Courtesy of: NYCEDC


Rebuild by Design Competition

HR&A developed winning resiliency solutions for Hurricane Sandy-affected regions through the Rebuild by Design Competition.


In addition to the disaster recovery grants awarded to the winning designs, our proposal for the Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn resulted in a $100 million joint commitment by New York City and State for the development of an integrated flood protection system.

Launched by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Rockefeller Foundation in response to Hurricane Sandy’s devastation in the Northeast United States, Rebuild by Design leveraged public input and cross-sector collaboration to encourage scalable, regional, and implementable development proposals from an iterative design process. HR&A led one design competition team and participated in two additional teams, which were all selected from a first round of 150 applicants to participate in two phases of effort and focused on:


  • Pilot initiatives for the resiliency and vitality of commercial corridors;
  • A comprehensive urban water management strategy;
  • A peninsula-wide resiliency strategy, including a perimeter levee and independent district energy grid.


The HR&A led a team, supported by architecture and urban design experts, including Cooper, Robertson, and Partners, to develop the Commercial Corridor Resiliency Project focused on the resiliency and vitality of commercial corridors and retail destinations throughout the flood-impacted areas of the northeast. Pilot initiatives were developed in Red Hook, Brooklyn, the Beach 116th Street corridor in the Rockaways, and Asbury Park on the New Jersey Shore. The team’s proposal included physical design proposals to enhance commercial resiliency from the individual business to neighborhood scale, and outlined programs to support capacity-building and technical assistance for businesses.


On the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) team, HR&A provided economic and policy advisory support for the development of four design opportunities as part of a Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken, New Jersey:


  • Enhanced resiliency and disaster response communications and information systems;
  • A regional development framework;
  • An infrastructure-anchored development vision for JFK Airport and the Jamaica Bay; and
  • A comprehensive resiliency and community development strategy.


As the competition progressed, HR&A continued to support the OMA team in developing a comprehensive resiliency strategy for the City of Hoboken. In June 2014, Secretary Donovan announced the OMA team as one of the winning recipients of funding for the Rebuild by Design competition. HUD announced a $230 million award for implementation of the first phase of the proposal for a Comprehensive Urban Water Management Strategy to defend the community of Hoboken and neighboring areas in Weehawken and Jersey City.


HR&A also provided economic and policy analysis to support the team co-led by PennDesign and OLIN, which developed Hunts Point Lifelines. In the second phase of the competition, HR&A developed an analytical framework to assist the team in shortlisting cities and towns in the coastal Northeast that are susceptible to abandonment or declining economic value due to sea level rise and increased storm activity. In June 2014, HUD announced a $20 million award for further study of “Hunts Point Lifelines,” for which HR&A provided market and economic analysis. “Lifelines” envisions a peninsula-wide resiliency strategy, including a perimeter levee that incorporates recreational access to the waterfront, a network of cleanways that function as both stormwater mitigation and roadway improvements, and an independent district energy grid that ensures continued food access during storm emergencies.


In 2015, Rebuild by Design published a book telling the story of the competition.

Coney Island Tidal Barrier

Climate Resiliency in the Sandy-Impacted Region

HR&A advises city, state, federal, nonprofit and private entities as they develop projects across the northeastern United States that both promote recovery from Hurricane Sandy and make people, property and infrastructure more resilient in light of increasing hazards and vulnerabilities in the future.

Our work includes contributions to the transformative visioning and community planning efforts of Rebuild by Design in Red Hook, the Rockaways, the New Jersey Shore, Hunts Point and Hoboken, delivery of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, and capacity building within the National Disaster Resilience Competition, as well as feasibility analysis and project design for infrastructure and community development projects in New York and New Jersey, and groundbreaking studies of key resiliency issues such as flood insurance and incentives and tools for business adaptation. HR&A deploys creative approaches to public-private financing, policy change, and community and stakeholder engagement to improve projects and maximize their viability.

On behalf of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, HR&A led the economic, planning, and regulatory components of a multidisciplinary feasibility study of a Southern Manhattan Multi-Purpose Levee that could integrate flood protection with new housing, commercial development, and open space uses. HR&A:

  • Managed a team composed of planners, lawyers, and consultants that evaluated regulatory obstacles for project implementation;
  • Tested multiple scenarios against a set of project goals, including enhancing flood protection for Southern Manhattan;
  • Led real estate and financial analyses for the project, including preparation of a dynamic pro forma to test multiple alternatives.


HR&A supported the development of a comprehensive tidal barrier and wetlands strategy for Coney Island Creek and a plan for storm surge barrier systems for the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek. As part of a holistic approach to assessing the feasibility of new flood protection systems, HR&A:


  • Supported the consideration of social and economic impacts of flood protection on adjacent neighborhoods, including the value of risk reduction and amenity creation;
  • Conducted an initial market analysis of the areas surrounding Coney Island Creek to identify highest and best use of suitable redevelopment sites;
  • Supported the creation of an implementation and phasing strategy to inform phasing for the Coney Island Creek flood protection system and surrounding redevelopment opportunities;
  • Identified opportunities to integrate flood control infrastructure with current and future real estate and infrastructure development activities along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront;
  • Created a funding strategy for barriers along Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek that integrates both conventional and innovative infrastructure capital and O&M funding sources.


For NYCEDC and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, HR&A led a team to study the impacts of flood insurance on New York City’s multifamily and mixed-use housing stock. In light of recent changes affecting flood insurance regulations, including revised federal flood map boundaries and impending premium increases, HR&A:


  • Built a comprehensive database of the city’s multifamily building stock, categorizing this data by type, including age, number of units or stories, and owner vs. rental tenure);
  • Designed and implemented a survey to determine flood insurance costs and incidence for a range of multifamily buildings;
  • Recommended actionable policy changes and mitigation strategies as responses to changing flood insurance costs for multifamily and mixed-use buildings.


As part of a team led by Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, HR&A supported work on behalf of the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) Sandy Resiliency & Renewal Program in Coney Island. For three NYCHA developments in Coney Island, including O’Dwyer Gardens, Surfside Gardens, and Coney Island Site 8, HR&A collaborated with the team to identify potential uses for ground-floor space created by the development of new infrastructure on-site and other resiliency improvements. The results of the preliminary analysis informed the team’s broader basis of design and scope for comprehensive resiliency improvements across the sites, as well as NYCHA’s investment decisions with regard to the campuses.


HR&A has led a number of other projects guiding the transformative visioning and community planning efforts taking place throughout the region. For the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, HR&A led a multidisciplinary team of engineers, architects, planners, and healthcare specialists through both rounds of the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program. HR&A led or participated on three of ten finalists teams in the Rebuild by Design competition launched by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to promote resilience for the Hurricane Sandy-affected region. From 2014-2016, HR&A was program manager for The Rockefeller Foundation’s Capacity Building Initiative in support of HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition.

New York Rising Meeting

New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program

HR&A led a multidisciplinary team to develop comprehensive, strategic resilience plans for at-risk communities that were severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee, and developed projects eligible for over $128M in federal disaster recovery funding.

 On behalf of the New York State Office of Storm Recovery’s New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program (NYRCR), HR&A led a team of engineers, architects, planners, landscape architects, healthcare and other specialists to run two rounds of the NYCRCR Program. In close coordination with the general public and planning committees, comprised of local civic and social leaders within each community, the HR&A-led team developed comprehensive community plans for investing over $128M of federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding towards strengthening the physical, economic, and social resiliency in Lower Manhattan, Red Hook, Howard Beach, Broad Channel, communities across the Rockaway Peninsula,  Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Marine Park, and several communities along the East Bronx Waterfront.

The HR&A-led team provided data analysis and technical evaluations to help residents understand real and projected risks and generated a spectrum of potential solutions to address issues and meet local goals. The team also estimated development and operating costs, evaluated funding options, and proposed phasing and implementation strategies. For example, the HR&A-led team:


  • Evaluated potential short- and long-term flood mitigation strategies for communities at risk from storm surge and wave action exacerbated by sea level rise;
  • Proposed low-cost loan programs to assist both business and residential retrofits;
  • Developed education programs to help the business-, home-, and building-owners learn, understand, make decisions, and take action; and
  • Proposed policy recommendations to ease the burden on building owners and increase access to more programs and funds.


In addition, HR&A managed the extensive community-led participatory process, running over 100 committee meetings and 40 large-scale public engagements, to iteratively gather feedback and present proposals and the community plans. In total, the team generated more than 120 near-term resiliency projects, each tailored for the specific community.


As of early 2016, Governor Cuomo has announced funding for four projects that the HR&A-led team drafted in collaboration with NY Rising communities: an energy resiliency feasibility study for New York City Housing Authority’s Red Hook Houses, a residential technical assistance pilot program in seven impacted communities, and two business corridor improvement projects, totaling over $12 million, for communities of the Rockaway Peninsula. The State is processing additional projects through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for implementation by City agencies and community organizations. In addition to this, FEMA has funded $1.2 million to advance technical and feasibility analyses of a double dune system in the Breezy Point community on the Rockaway Peninsula that was designed in concept in the NYRCR process and supported in the final plan. In his February 2016 State of the City speech, Mayor de Blasio announced a $91 million investment in downtown Far Rockaway, and has emphasized the importance of streetscape improvements in the Rockaway East community. The City has also approved the plans for implementing permanent ferry service to Rockaway West, a major priority advocated by the community’s planning committee.


A joint commitment by New York City and State in the amount of $100 million for an integrated flood protection system will protect Red Hook from future storm surges and the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery is more than doubling the City’s initial investment of $3 million in funding for the launch of the NYC Business Preparedness and Resiliency Program with an additional $4.51 million.


Game On Sidewalk

Game On! Programming for Water Street in Downtown New York

On behalf of the Alliance for Downtown New York, HR&A developed and implemented a programming and neighborhood branding plan that transformed Lower Manhattan’s Water Street Corridor into Lower Manhattan’s playground.

HR&A led the development of a distinctive programming and placemaking plan for the Water Street corridor, from June through Labor Day of 2014 on behalf of the Alliance for Downtown New York. In collaboration with Auster Agency and 3×3 Design, HR&A conducted and managed the planning and execution of an effort designed to shift perceptions about a once-staid area of the financial district, originally home to insurance company headquarters.

The resulting program series, called Game On!, activated public spaces on Water Street with pop-up installations including play-oriented programming, beer gardens, mini-golf, and a “beach” installation. These temporary public space uses encouraged local residents, workers, and visitors to utilize these areas in new, lively, and fun ways. Local businesses were also engaged by and benefited from the program, which provided coupons to local cafes and restaurants that incentivized visitors to patronize local businesses. Other components of the initiative, including program-specific branding and a website developed for the series, helped ensure its success:  Game On! attracted individuals between the ages of 25 and 33—37% of visitors—both on the weekends and in the evening in addition to people who work near Water Street, ensuring that Water Street remained active throughout the work day and into the evening.  ADNY found that the Game On! brand resonated with 60% of those surveyed, as a result of a strategic advertising strategy, and that


Game On! and other initiatives on Water Street, such as the Downtown Alliance’s WiFi program and HR&A’s work with Water Street POPS, sought to leverage underused public spaces throughout the corridor. These neighborhood programming efforts evince the Downtown Alliance’s commitment to the revitalization of the Water Street corridor into a vibrant center of downtown life.

Images Courtesy of: 3×3 Design

Penn's Landing

Master Plan for Philadelphia’s Delaware Waterfront & Penn’s Landing

HR&A created development, investment, and phasing strategies to support the award-winning Master Plan for the Central Delaware, and advised on redevelopment scenarios for a revitalized Penn’s Landing.


Philadelphia’s waterfront once bustled with industrial activity, but as the City’s manufacturing and shipping sectors shifted to accommodate Center City’s growing knowledge-economy, the isolated waterfront deteriorated. Cut off from downtown by an interstate highway, the waterfront suffered from disinvestment, increased vacancy, and underutilization.

In 2010, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, seeking to revitalize a seven-mile length of the central waterfront, asked HR&A and a team of designers, engineers, urban planners, and architects to create a master plan that would create an accessible riverfront, provide community amenities, and increase the values of surrounding parcels to encourage redevelopment along the waterfront.


The resulting plan extends Philadelphia’s vibrant urban environment to the water by incorporating neighborhood-scale development, transportation connections, public-realm improvements, entertainment and cultural offerings, and open space and recreation opportunities.
HR&A worked with the planning team to identify the initial steps needed to finance and implement these improvements, starting with an assessment of local demand for residential, retail, commercial office, flex, and hotel uses. This assessment helped shape the development program, and informed the planning team’s strategy to extend the low- and mid-rise character of nearby residential neighborhoods, which would create signature waterfront destinations without absorbing a disproportionate share of demand from Center City’s building inventory and businesses. Additionally, HR&A explored phasing, financing, and implementation alternatives that leveraged the site’s private development potential to support essential first-phase public improvements and amenities.
In 2014, HR&A joined a team of landscape architects and planners to advance the framework for open space and development at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia’s premier waterfront event space. As one of the first-phase redevelopment sites identified in the master plan, the site included a range of activating uses including residential, retail, and an 11-acre signature park with neighborhood-scale public spaces that would provide key connections across the I-95 expressway towards Center City. HR&A assessed market demand for new development, and coordinated with the study team to evaluate multiple development scenarios, including associated phasing.


The Philadelphia City Planning Commission adopted the master plan in 2012, and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is now advancing implementation.
In 2015, DRWC selected a development partner to construct 550 units of rental housing, 30,000 square feet of retail, and significant public space at Spring Garden. This new development will complement a new entertainment center and nearly 500 additional units of housing now under way on private land surrounding the waterfront, spurred in part by Delaware River Waterfront Corporation advancement of five major infrastructure projects recommended under the master plan.

Strategic Plan to Reposition the Brooklyn Tech Triangle

The Brooklyn Tech Triangle, which includes the neighborhoods of DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard area is becoming the City’s largest cluster of tech activity outside of Manhattan, with nearly 10% of the sector calling this area home. Individually, these neighborhoods have attracted the interest of innovative tenants in the last several years, especially in DUMBO, which has become a recognized tech hub. The challenge of nurturing this influx of innovation requires ensuring that the right kind of space and environment is available for tech firms, and both opportunities and talent are encouraged. However, a lack of appropriate office space and adequate job preparation, among other factors, threatens to stifle this growth and send companies to invest and hire elsewhere. Led by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the DUMBO Improvement District, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Strategic Plan seeks to address these challenges by providing a blueprint for nurturing the growth of this sector and ensuring New York can capitalize on the job creation of the industry.

As part of a consultant team led by WXY Architecture + Urban Design, HR&A spearheaded the real estate and economic analysis supporting policy recommendations to foster the area’s tech sector growth. HR&A helped develop a working definition of the target tech and creative industry sectors, assessed the current status of tech and creative companies in the Tech Triangle area, and recommended changes in public and private real estate development and management policies. The team as a whole also considered workforce development, transportation, and open space and streetscape strategies to foster the growth of the technology and creative economy in the area.


The final report focuses on actionable recommendations for implementation by both the public and private sectors, to nurture the growth of creative industries within the Tech Triangle while maximizing the employment benefits for local residents. The report describes five categories of recommendations to ensure that the Tech Triangle remains a world-class center for innovation and resources and the 2nd largest cluster of tech and creative companies for New York City: creating space for tech to grow, connecting Brooklyn’s educational institutions to the tech sector, improving physical connectivity across the district,  improving the urban fabric of the Triangle, and marketing Triangle-created new technologies, while also bolstering the digital infrastructure of the area.


Specific recommendations conceived and analyzed by HR&A included: a master lessee program to align tech tenants’ leasing preferences with traditional landlord financing requirements  and a special innovation district to create more active space for the innovation economy in existing storage and warehouse buildings.


As of January 2016, a number of the initiatives we described are underway, and the Tech Triangle is now home to 1,351 innovation companies and 17,302 employees, up from 1,107 and 11,967 in 2012, respectively. In November 2013, the New York chapter of the American Planning Association honored the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Strategic Plan with its annual award for Meritorious Achievement citing the ambitious scale of the plan to serve as a model for economic development in urban centers.

BigApps 2015

NYC BigApps

The NYC BigApps competition awarded over $200,000 to innovative civic tech startups and piloted new models for collaboration between tech and the public sector.

In 2014, the New York City Economic Development Corporation selected HR&A as program administrator of NYC BigApps, a trendsetting civic tech competition that has helped launched more than 500 apps and devices. HR&A has led all aspects of program design and management for BigApps 2014 and 2015, developing two interactive web platforms; producing more than 25 events; securing more than $500,000 in cash and in-kind sponsorships; managing partnerships with more than 100 organizations; and overseeing the selection processes that awarded $230,000 to 16 high-impact tech products.

HR&A led a major redesign of BigApps in 2014, the competition’s fifth year. To facilitate more targeted submissions, HR&A partnered with New York City agencies and nonprofit organizations to craft more than 30 “BigIdea Challenges” that awarded extra prizes for specific solutions. To engage the public, HR&A produced 11 events, including the BigApps Block Party, a day-long tech showcase that attracted more than 1,000 attendees. The competition received 117 submissions, the most of any competition year. Among the 2014 winners was Heat Seek NYC, which uses low-cost sensor technology to track heating violations in apartment buildings. Since winning $25,000 in prizes, Heat Seek has been accepted into two prominent incubator programs, introduced an improved sensor and software platform, and launched a winter 2015 pilot program that deployed 120 sensors across 40 low-income buildings throughout New York City.


For BigApps 2015, HR&A again recruited more than 30 City agencies, civic organizations, and private sector firms, but this time focused on four high-impact Challenges: Affordable Housing, Zero Waste, Connected Cities, and Civic Engagement. These Challenges were designed to support Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City. Over a four-month period, partners co-created products with teams and committed to supporting the implementation of winning products. In December, BigApps awarded $125,000 to seven impactful civic tech products, including Benefit Kitchen, a mobile app that helps low-income New Yorkers access public benefits;, a web platform that empowers tenants to improve their living conditions; and Addicaid, a digital support network designed for individuals struggling with substance abuse. In addition to prizes, teams won four months of Incubation at Civic Hall, including access to meeting and work space, targeted workshops, access to professional networks, and expert guidance on business planning, marketing, funding strategies, and product development.


Read more about BigApps at NYC .gov,, AM New York, and Crain’s NY Business.