Open City Apps and Chicago’s Open Government Hack Night

Chicago’s Open City Apps are a team of innovative volunteer ‘civic hackers’ that manipulate open source data from Chicago’s Open Data Portal in order to help people understand and visualize different aspects of their government and environment.

The Open Government Hack Night, hosted by Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s social media director, Kevin Hauswirth, has brought some of Chicago’s tech minds together creating some rather innovative projects.  Hosted on Tuesday evenings at 1871, a tech hub located in the Merchandise Mart, this is a place where entrepreneurial minds converge and churn out creative ideas and trend setting technologies.  1871 hosts many other events as well and also has a few classes for those eager to learn technical magic.

Some that attend this weekly event are called Government Do-Gooders, Curious Citizens, and even Civic Hackers.  By hacking, they use open data that is publicly available as part of the mayor’s ‘transparency initiative‘ and create apps to display that data in a meaningful and usable way giving Chicagoans another view on their city.  One thing is for sure, it is a step in the right direction.

Edifice, an Open City App created by Juan-Pablo Velez and Corey Mollet visually shows Chicago building, demolition, violations and construction data and was created during the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Reinventing Chicago hackathon (@CNT_tweets #reinventchi).  Playing around with these interactive data maps gives a unique look into what is going on in Chicago.

I look forward to watching Chicago’s entrepreneurial/tech startup community grow with Mayor Emanuel’s efforts to make Chicago an attractive tech hub.

Below are links to some of these neat Chicago projects.  Check them out and let me know if you see Chicago’s tech scene growing.

Chicago Open City Apps –

Chicago’s Open Data Portal –

Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) –

How’s Business Chicago –

Crime in Chicago –

Chicago Public School Tiers –

Clear Streets –

Chicago Lobbyist –

About Adam Sarwar

"I know nothing." ~ Socrates
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