Poll: Which public data do you most want to see on EveryBlock?


One of the things we love most about EveryBlock is the ability to give context and create discussion around public data, and how public data can impact communities in a positive way. It provides a way for citizens to get engaged in their communities, and a system for local governments to be more accountable for the services they provide. Not only do EveryBlock users make city service requests, but they use the data surrounding them to prompt discussions about the state of their neighborhood.

We are constantly working to add new public data sets to the site. In Chicago, available public data includes building permits, business licenses, crime reports, food inspections, and most recently, Open 311 requests. But we’d like to add more, and for that we’re looking for your feedback. The simple question is – what type of data do you feel would be the most useful for the EveryBlock community to know? Street closures? Train status? SNAP locations? Event permits?

Please take our short poll and let us know what you’d most like to see. If we haven’t listed the type of data you’re interested in, feel free to add it as a write-in. The poll is here: http://poll.fm/4qz9a

And, along with taking the poll, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below, via Facebook or Twitter, or on the EveryBlock feedback form. As always, we would love to hear them.

EB Public Records

New Feature: Garage Sale Listings


Just in time for everyone’s spring cleaning (and shopping), we’ve added in neighborhood garage sales, yard sales, moving sales and estate sales listings from Gsalr.com onto the EveryBlock Events page. As with all data, you can view them as part of the overall calendar, or individually by clicking ‘GSALR’ on the Show only menu.



Microsoft Research Project Tells You What a Neighborhood Is Thinking


Interesting piece from Street Fight on a project designed to capture the “mood” of a neighborhood by utilizing open data. The article includes an EveryBlock mention, too.

By now, it’s clear that big business sees the value in analytics. What’s less clear is whether “big data” can capture the imagination of the ordinary user, providing the enough context and meaning to compete with more traditional forms of media. Researchers at Microsoft are on a mission to find out.

Read More: http://streetfightmag.com/2014/04/16/microsoft-research-project-tells-you-what-a-neighborhood-is-thinking/

The Beauty and History of Park Manor/Chatham.


(Editor’s note: This is a user submission from our new “Share Your Story” tool.)

Park Manor/Chatham is the oldest African American Community in the USA! Our community has produced two Mayors and Two County Board Presidents for the City of Chicago. The resilience of our people to remain optimistic in the face of economic downturn and still fight for a peaceful, quality of life is testament to the beauty of this area and the strength of its residents.

My story centers around this Park Manor-Chatham existence as my being a life long resident since the late 50′s. As I look at our community today there has been many changes in people but NOT the quality of homes and people who work hard to keep them up. We strive today to build economic development in a changing demographic. Developers should run to our area and it is a jewel in the rough. The Mayor should strive to keep his promises and continue to build new developments in this wonderful area. The photo tells it all – We work for our youth who will take up the torch. Only by education and opening new opportunities for jobs will our community continue to survive.

-Cece Edwards


Share Your EveryBlock Story


We’ve added a new feature on the blog – the ability for users to submit their own tips or stories about EveryBlock. You can share written accounts or Youtube videos.

If you’ve used the site in a positive way and want to let others know how the site helps you and your neighborhood, we’d love for you to share your story! We’d also love to hear any tips you might have on how to use and explore EveryBlock. You’ll see we’ve already received a few stories from EveryBlock users, which are posted in the ‘Community Comments’ section of the blog.

Through EveryBlock, we’ve seen several examples of community building, lost and found pets, solutions to city service issues, and more, all completely generated by you, for the benefit of your neighbors and neighborhoods. Even if it’s something as simple as finding a good plumber recommendation, or discovering a new activity from EveryBlock, we’d love to hear it. In addition, new users are joining the site every day, so your tips and stories will be valuable to them as they experience the site and community for the first time.

Click the Share Your Story link on the blog to start. Then, just add your name, email, a title (ex: Why I Use EveryBlock), and your story. If you’re just giving a comment, select ‘Community Comments’ for the category. If you’re giving advice or tips, select ‘EveryBlock Tips’.



How Knight endowments advance journalism excellence


Knight Foundation’s journalism and media innovation team gets much well-deserved attention for its media innovation work. Less discussed, but no less important, is the education of thousands of students and professionals each year through $200 million in endowed programs Knight has built over several decades to advance journalism excellence.

Read More: http://www.knightfoundation.org/blogs/knightblog/2014/4/14/how-knight-endowments-advance-journalism-excellence/

On EveryBlock: Popular Posts of the Week


It’s been a great week for us, and hopefully for you all as well! Here are some of the top conversations happening on EveryBlock. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Acts of Kindness: Feral Cat Colonies

Those Pesky Phone Books 

Powered by People: Why Bike?

Rogers Park in Perspective

The Best Fish and Chips in the City

A Couch in the Middle of a Public Park? 


Volunteer in Your Community


Local Communities, Local Impact

EveryBlock is about being better neighbors, and what better way to improve your community than volunteering for a clean up project. On Saturday, April 26th, Comcast Cares Day offers you an opportunity to get involved with your neighbors offline and make difference in your community. There are many ways to get involved.  Want to roll up your sleeves? Consider a building and painting project. Love a good book? Read to students. Feel the need to brighten someone’s day? Assemble care packages for our troops. Pick a project and grab a group or sign up solo to serve the local schools, parks and not-for-profits that make Chicago the place we all like to boast about.

For a complete list of projects and to sign up, click here.


(Photo: Comcast Community Flickr Account)

Open311 Data on EveryBlock


When it comes to public data, EveryBlock encourages and participates in Civic Tech collaboration. As such, we’re very excited to begin featuring data from Chicago Open311, which comes directly from the Chicago 311 City Services Department. Like all data on EveryBlock, users can choose to have service requests featured on their timeline, or view only them by using the show only menu.

EB Open 311 full page

Types of service requests include potholes, graffitti, abandoned vehicles, rodent baiting and building violations. So when questions arise on EveryBlock about city service problems getting reported, or a call to action to report problems, you can easily access the information needed to report them.

Because of the sheer number of service requests in Chicago, we cannot display all of them on EveryBlock. For the time being, we only show the subset of service requests that have attached photos.

EB Open 311 sample page

We’ve partnered with ChicagoWorksForYou, a project of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, in what we hope will be the first of many partnerships that showcase how public information can and should be utilized. On ChicagoWorksForYou, you can view aggregate data on the frequency and location of Open311 service requests as well as a gallery of photos. For example, you can view a bar chart of reported potholes last week in the city, grouped by ward, as well as an explanation how the city handles potholes and pothole reports. It’s great data to use to find trends, like which problems are most common in specific areas of the city.

Chicago Works For You

More information about how we source our Open311 services is available here.

If you work with the Open311 service request datasets, we’d love to hear about it, along with any other comments you might have. Please let us know in the comments below, or via our feedback form.



Chicago SmartData Project


Interesting piece on the Chicago open-source predictive analysis platform, and how the technology could be utilized in other cities.

As the third largest city in the U.S. at 2.7 million residents, Chicago is known for many things. It has its trademarked windy weather, deep-dish pizzas and that iconic piece of Americana known as Wrigley Field, a ballpark that turns 100 this year. Yet today, the 237-square-mile metropolis is on the eve of another possible milestone, one that might be heading to cities across the U.S.

Read more: http://www.govtech.com/data/3-Reasons-Chicagos-Analytics-Could-be-Coming-to-Your-City.html


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