Currently browsing: Civic Tech

Update: Knight Foundation News Challenge Semifinalists


The Knight Foundation News Challenge has reached the semifinal stage, with 56 projects selected out of 702 submissions, who all responded to the question: How can we strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation? Among the semifinalists are projects covering ideas such as civic participation, data security, augmented reality, and internet censorship.

Read more and comment on the projects here:

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.

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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.

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Civic Tech and More in Philadelphia


Today marks the first day of Philly Tech Week, a celebration and gathering of the Philadelphia technology community. The week includes workshops, round tables, and mixers related to Civic Technology, Digital Media, Entrepreneurship and more.

And, for those of you who are video game fans, there will be a skyscraper-sized game of Tetris.



Exploring the Chicago Works for You Dataset


The Smart Chicago Collaborative has posted an analysis of the data sets found in Chicago Works for You. Some interesting correlations to be drawn involving city services. Do certain service requests happen in tandem with others? How about the impact of weather?

Editor’s note: there is a massive set of data behind the Smart Chicago Chicago Works for You (CWFY) product– a citywide dashboard with three million requests, across fourteen services, all drawn from Chicago’s Open311 system.  I asked Q. Ethan McCallum, a Chicago-based consultant focused on helping businesses to succeed and improve through practical use of data analysis, to review the data and see what we could learn. Here’s his take. –DXO

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Update: Knight Foundation News Challenge


The Knight Foundation News Challenge is now at the feedback stage. Entries are available to view and comment on at:

Check out the site to see some great ideas that try to answer the question: How can we strengthen the internet for free expression and innovation?

Knight internship unveils a network of opportunity


AndriesVaisman - Above: Andries Vaisman.

Knight Foundation’s summer internship program is currently accepting applications. The foundation offers competitive internships in a variety of program areas that work to promote informed and engaged communities.

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How Open Data Portals Will Stimulate Innovation and Economic Growth


The Smart Data Collective published a piece on open data and how it can drive revenue and jobs.

“Not only governments are sitting on huge piles of data, also governments are known for creating enormous amounts of data. In fact, they are one of the biggest data-creators in the world and all this (raw) data can be worth a lot of money. McKinsey estimated in 2011 that the potential value of Big Data for the European Sector would be up to € 250 billion per year in 2020.  Most of all the data is created with public money, and therefore it would be logical that this data is also returned to the public for public usage.”

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