Resources for Chicago

Best Practices for Chicago

  • City departments have always posted online a list of documents and information they regularly maintain, as well as information about how to submit a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain those records.
  • As of early 2010, a new Illinois State law requires every department to maintain a log of all FOIA requests, including the name of the requestor, a description of the request and the submission and due dates. The State law does not require the log to be posted online, but the City will be going above and beyond what’s required and taking that extra step to post the logs online in the interest of transparency and the free flow of information.
  • Chicago is the only government organization in the nation that posts logs for every city department and updates them daily.
  • Through MCIC, the City has a customer-friendly database to access community statistics. The MCIC Community Vitality Index (CVI) uses multidimensional indicators to quantify the relative potential of neighborhoods and geographic communities in the Chicago metropolitan region. The index measures social capital, economic potential and community assets and generates a score from 1-100 for every census tract in the six-county Chicago metropolitan region.

Civic 2.0 and Federal Stimulus

  • In conjunction with the Broadband Technology Opportunties Program (part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), Chicago developed a unique program to help close the digital divide. They applied for “sustainable adoption” segment of the BTOP. In addition to building an affordable Internet connection, they included civic engagement and data collection. Open data was on their radar since then.
    • Civic 2.0 will focus on civic and public uses of the Internet and will teach adults, parents and youth 1) how to navigate City of Chicago services to get things done such as get a city sticker, use the tech locator for public Internet access, pay property taxes, etc.; 2) how to access civic data for local community improvement purposes, e.g. crime data, school test scores, foreclosure data etc; and 3) how to use digital media tools for community organizing purposes.

Apps for Chicago (Apps4Chicago)

(Under construction - Held for release on a future date)

Metro Chicago Information Center (MCIC)

  • MCIC is an independent, non-profit organization that provides the highest quality data collection, analysis and consultation to institutions dedicated to strengthening communities and enriching lives.
  • Their PPI Data Library is a free online resource geared toward helping individuals and small organization access demographic and regional information to support grant applications, community needs assessment and strategic planning. The library includes regularly updated data sets, maps, charts, tables, reports and the latest MCIC indices.
  • They also compile a Community Vitality Index (CVI) uses multidimensional indicators to quantify the relative potential of neighborhoods and geographic communities in the Chicago metro area.e
  • MCIC, in conjunction with the Chicago government, is working to develop a comprehensive data repository to build applications and close the digital divide.