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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you like EveryBlock feeds and want to put them on your own site? Take a look at our Widget Center, which has embeddable widgets for Neighborhood Events, Crime Reports, Food Inspections, and many more to come.
It’s easy to add the Widgets to your own blog or web site. Simply click on ‘Add Now’ for the Widget you’d like to display, and the embed code will pop right up.
We’re working on adding new datasets for Widgets. If you have any suggestions, please let us know at our Feedback Form.
Quick update – events from the Chicago Public Library are now included on EveryBlock, and are viewable from the Events tab of your homepage.
You can display them individually by clicking the ‘show only’ button, and then selecting Chicago Public Library.
We’ve made the Mute button more prominent on EveryBlock messages and comments, so it’s easier to hide users.
Muting a user means you’ll never see messages or comments by them again, either on the site or in email digests. The user will not know you’ve done this.You can undo this in the future by visiting your preferences page.