Currently browsing: Civic Tech

New in Chicago: Bike Parking Request Map


Interesting use of OpenPlans Shareabout software in Chicago: requests for bike parking. Some cool stuff being done with geolocation and civic tech.

Chicago DOT recently launched a new bike parking requests website, using Shareabouts. It’s a neat project, and bike parking requests are flooding in.

Beyond being a neat example of responsive government, the project is also a great case study for how we work at OpenPlans.

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Using Civic Tech to help with City Zoning


Great piece from Government Technology on a civic tech tool that helps entrepreneurs, real estate developers, and city planners speed up the zoning inquiry process.

For cities hailing businesses to bolster tax revenues, the courtship can be paradoxical. Cities launch campaigns, initiatives and incentives, only to bury potential prospects in tangles of regulatory paperwork and planning regulation. The process can be deal-breaking.

To ease the burden on officials, required to regulate, and on business owners, who must navigate city codes, one civic tech startup has released a new question-and-answer tool that maps open zoning areas based on an applicant’s interests. The tool, called ZoningCheck, comes fromOpenCounter, a Code for America Accelerator company and Knight Foundation grant recipient.

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Digital initiative to expand help for military veterans


The Knight Foundation recently wrote about a site called The Wait We Carry, which uses open data to help people learn about the wait times that veterans endure to get medical services. The site, created by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), also allows people to learn about specific veterans and to connect with them. With a new $500,000 grant from The Knight Foundation, future plans include developing a digital ecosystem with new data and information projects, as well as making the site into an open-source visualization tool that other groups can use.

Read more about The Wait We Carry:

New Open Data Sets in Chicago


Open Data fans rejoice! (And beachgoers, taxi riders, and affordable broadband supporters.) There are some new datasets on the City of Chicago Data Portal.

The City of Chicago has released a handful of new datasets which pertain to several parts of daily life in Chicago. The public will be able to explore the water quality at Chicago beachesfind who and which vehicles are licensed to carry passengers, activities for Chicago’s Micro-Market Recovery Program, and the geographic areas targeted by the City’s Broadband Innovation Challenge.

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Socrata launches the Open Data Network


Great news from Socrata on their effort to increase the creation and consumption of open data, to benefit cities, citizens, and the economy.

Socrata (, a Seattle-based cloud software company focused exclusively on democratizing access to government data, today announced the launch of the Open Data Network, which will unleash the full potential of government data and help drive sustained prosperity in connected communities all over the world.

Bringing together a vast and connected ecosystem of participants – governments that are open data publishers and consumers; businesses that incorporate and use government data; citizens; and civic developers and entrepreneurs who use open data to build service delivery apps – the Open Data Network will encompass 25-30 industries, each with its own unique and valuable data set.

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Code For America Fellowship


The deadline to apply for a Code For America Fellowship is tomorrow, so if you’re interested in working with cities to help improve the citizen experience, fill out an application! To see a list of some of the apps developed by  Code For America fellows, click here.

The Open Data Community as a Dating Site?


Should the open data community have a function similar to a dating web site? It’s not as far-fetched as you’d think. Interesting guest blog on the Sunlight Foundation site.

After this year’s TransparencyCamp, I’m convinced the transparency and open data community has moved to a new stage of its development. As recently as three years ago, we were excited by the first civic organizations popping up in various countries and by governments opening large datasets for the first time.

Since then, the community has grown considerably larger and stronger. The discussion very much shifted from how to get the data to what to do with it and how to connect better internationally. Cross-country cooperation, advocacy campaigns and data standards are becoming the hot topics at conferences and on high-profile mailing lists.

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Knight News Challenge winners announced


The 19 winners of the Knight News Challenge have been announced, and will share a total award of $3,466,000. The Challenge was launched in February with the question: How can we strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation? Each of the winners addressed issues of increased access, transparency, and safety across the internet.

EveryBlock congratulates our partners, Chicago Public Library, on their award, as well as all the winners and all who entered the challenge!

For the full winner’s list read more:

Which States and Cities Have Chief Data Officers?


We’ve worked closely with the Chicago Chief Data Officer in implementing Open311 data into EveryBlock, and have worked with other CDOs around the country. GovTech has an interactive map of the state and local governments who have CDO positions. It shows the growing value of open data initiatives and the need for innovation.

In 2010, Colorado became the first state to appoint a chief data officer (CDO). A year later, New York City pioneered the position in local government.

Since then, the ranks of CDOs in state and local government have grown steadily, driven by expanding interest in predictive analytics, civic hacking and performance measurement. Research by Government Technology located more than a dozen CDOs in states and localities across the U.S. And that number seems poised to multiply as governments seek to harness the power of big data.

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WordCamp Chicago, June 13-15


As GoodWorkChicago winds down, starting tomorrow and through weekend is the WordCamp Chicago conference, covering everything related to WordPress and the Chicago WordPress Community. EveryBlock will be in full attendance and will have a booth in the University Center Chicago lobby, where you can learn about the site and our work with the WordPress and Open Source communities. If you’re attending the conference, please stop by to say hello!


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