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.

Read more:

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:

Site Maintenance Update


Update: The site is back online and fully functional as of 12:00 p.m.

EveryBlock site maintenance work is still ongoing. We will notify you when we are fully back online. Thank you for your continued patience!

Popular In Chicago: July 18th


Happy Friday! Here are some of the happening threads on EveryBlock this week:

Don’t get ticketed - learn the rules for street cleanings.

Bicyclists in Lakeview

Places to donate clothing: click here and here for ideas.

New to Bucktown? Welcome!

Please let people exit the train before boarding.

And finally, for laughs only.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Site Maintenance


EveryBlock will be down for site maintenance starting Saturday, July 19th at 9 p.m. EST, and will be back online on Sunday, July 20th.

We appreciate your patience, and thank you for continuing to be a part of the EveryBlock community.

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.

Read more:

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.

Read more:

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.

Popular in Chicago: July 11th


Hope everyone had a good week! Here are some of the happening threads on EveryBlock for the past week.

How did the turtle cross the road? (In Albany Park.)

Proposed residential development in Jefferson Park

Free up some shelf space - places to donate used books.

Got any suggestions for good jogging routes in Irving Park?

Chocolate Croissants

Ideas for Building Community in Logan Square

A continued thanks to everyone who supports the EveryBlock community and makes it a place to discuss issues of all kinds. Have a great weekend!

Removing Posts for Privacy Reasons


At EveryBlock we take issues of privacy very seriously, and in some cases, our moderation team is faced with the decision of whether or not to remove posts on the grounds of privacy violations.

If an EveryBlock user posts another user’s personal information, such as a private address or phone number, without the user’s permission, that is a violation of our community guidelines and grounds for removal.

If the user posts personal information that may be public knowledge, but does not include a link to an official news story or police report, that is grounds for removal as well. Unless the user has done their due diligence to provide the info from an official source, we’re going to assume that absent any links, the information is hearsay.

Although this can be a gray area, we still try to follow this simple practice: if it’s a violation of our guidelines, remove. If not, keep it up. In practice, we do not edit or alter posts and in the few situations when we do, we always notify the user. Often times, if we delete a post, we will message the user telling them what was wrong, and that they are free to repost if they fix said problem.

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