This blog will be dedicated to examining and promoting civic data in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois.
WBEZ is partnering with the Smart Chicago Collaborative to promote civic data. This blog will be part of that collaboration.
We'll post original data sets @OpenSocrata
In our recent story on Chicago’s sidewalk cafes, we sought to figure out how and why they were focused on the North Side.
We delved into economic development projects, but also wanted to key in mass transit, which appears to play a big part.
The map below shows the 2012 sidewalk cafe permits alongside the CTA transit routes.
We wanted to get a take as to how people interact with public space as it relates to transit, so we turned to an expert.
Steven Farber, is an assistant professor of geography at the University of Utah. He recently published a study that examined the land use and transportation of 42 major U.S. cities, and the implications those systems have on social outcomes.
Farber said his research indicated that people are spending more time on their commute were not fully engaging in their communities.
“If people are spending more time on their commute, we did find that the first thing that drops out of someone’s life as they engage in more commuting is social-activity participation,” he said.
“People are still going to go shopping. They’re still going to eat; they’re still going to do these mandatory daily activities that they need to do. If you’re going to drive more, there’s only so many hours in the day. The first thing that drops out are the discretionary activities.”
While his researched focused on automobile commuting, it may well have resonance in Chicago.
The concentrations of sidewalk cafés are clustered in neighborhoods with close proximity to CTA “L” stations, especially the Red and Brown Lines. There are nearly a dozen on the block of the Southport Brown Line station and dozens within a 3-6 block radius of the Brown Line Armitage stop and the Red Line Belmont and Addison stops.
While sidewalk cafes are a manifestation of businesses aided by the number of restaurants in an area, density, zoning and streetscapes projects, mass transit plays a big deal as well.
“I don’t see anything insidious in the fact that these establishments have arisen at these locations,” Farber said.
“I think that neighborhoods without those types of opportunities for social contact may not fare as well as neighborhoods that do have these cafes and sidewalks and better streetscapes, so from that perspective, spending money on neighborhoods that are already at a higher socioeconomic level might just further decrease the divide between good neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods or high income neighborhoods and lower income neighborhoods.”
Looks like Chicago and Illinois aren’t the only ones going data-portal happy. DePaul’s Institute for Housing Studies has launched a data portal focusing on housing conditions in the Chicago area.
From their release:
On May 23, IHS launched a new Housing Market Indicators Data Portal. Housing and community development practitioners can now access key housing market data sets by geography, year, and, in many cases, broken down by residential property type.
About the IHS Housing Market Indicators PortalSelect data sets from our Data Clearinghouse are now available on the new Data Portal including:
Check it out here:
Brett Goldstein, a former techie turned beat cop who became the city’s chief information officer, is leaving City Hall for academia and the private sector.
WBEZ compiled data about where City Hall issues sidewalk cafe permits that allow eateries to serve customers on sidewalks. Our analysis paints a disparate picture of Chicago’s sidewalk dining and drinking spots. It may not surprise many longtime city-goers that such permits are concentrated on the North Side. But what may surprise some is just how uneven the spread really is: There’s quite literally no comparison with communities on the South and West Sides, as those parts of town have no permits with which to compare.
By Lewis Wallace
Participants in MigraHack L.A. in 2012. The immigration-themed civic hackathon is migrating to Chicago for a three-day event in Pilsen at the end of May. (Aurelia Ventura/RDataVox )
Chicago techies, data nerds and community groups are preparing for three days of events surrounding the National Day of Civic Hacking on Saturday, June 1. And the organizers say this is not your average hackathon — its goal is to bridge a digital divide and reach the general public.
“Civic hacking is the idea that as a resident of a place, you can change its makeup,” said Dan O’Neil, Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative. The three days of events will match citizens, journalists and community groups with programmers, developers and designers to dig into digital resources such as the City of Chicago’s data portal, and then develop ideas for websites and apps that help make public data more accessible.
Until now, researchers authorized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to analyze The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) had to set up a secure, compliant computing environment capable of managing and analyzing terabytes of data, download the data — which could take weeks — and then install the appropriate tools needed to perform the desired analysis
Chicago and Google teamed up this past weekend in hopes of creating a safer Chicago.
The city of Chicago in collaboration with Google hosted the Safe Communities Hackathon, an event which sought to have civic hackers and developers create applications that would improve community involvement in neighborhood policing.
There were seven teams, competing in Google’s downtown offices awash in caffeine and free sandwiches.
The city’s Chief Data Officer Brett Goldstein (@ChicagoCDO) was on site.
The city spokesperson said the goal was to attract some of Chicago’s most creative minds to design an app that would help residents communicate issues in their community to their CAPS districts.
Because of that, the police department had dispatched two commanders to weigh in, including Cmdr. Lucy Moy-Barosik, who heads up the department’s Bureau of Patrol.
The police department was able to open up part of their reporting system by way of API. The city’s department of Innovation and Technology listed the available ‘calls’ developers would have access to ahead of the competition.
Of the resources developers would utilize: crimes by location, mugshots, warrants, lists of most wanted, community events calendars and ability to submit reports.
The U.S. government data will range from energy, education, public safety, finance, and global development, and health. This week, several news organizations took advantage of open data released by the government’s Health Data Initiative to report on huge disparities in what hospitals across the U.S. charge Medicare for routine procedures.
A new app scans Twitter for tweets related to food poisoning in Chicago. Are there certain restaurants you avoid? Dan O’Neil, Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, joins Tony to talk about the app and how it’s helping people eat safer.