Mayor Emanuel Expands Open Data on City Portal with Executive Order

Today, the City of Chicago expanded its open data efforts with an executive order by Mayor Emanuel.

“An open and transparent administration makes it easier for residents to hold their government accountable, but it also serves as a platform for innovative tools that improve the lives of all residents,” said Mayor Emanuel, in statement on the city website.

“Chicago’s vibrant technology and startup community will leverage this wealth of open, public data to create applications that will improve service delivery and lead to greater quality of service for residents and more public engagement in City government.”

The city released 21 new “high value” datasets today, including real-time traffic data from Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses, environmental data, liquor regulation, and recycling programs.

When asked what made these datasets high value, the Mayor’s Office responded via email.

“The datasets released today aren’t necessarily more critical than the more than 400 others that have been released,” wrote Caroline Weisser, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office. 

“They continue the commitment the administration has taken to being a leader in municipal open data. The executive order itself codifies the actions that Brett and John Tolva, the CTO, have taken over the past year and a half to pursue both open data policy and detailed analytics in tandem. Making a firm commitment to continue adding writable data to the dataportal about how the city works provides the raw materials for the City to collaborate and innovate with the developer community, which ultimately helps the City do a better job of serving Chicagoans.”

For more context on opening government, the Chicago way, read our feature from 2011 and more recent coverage of how Brett Goldstein, Chicago’s chief information officer and chief data officer, is using data in the public sector.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel aims to encourage urban agriculture - chicagotribune.com
Urban farmers were delighted Tuesday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a proposed ordinance that could make growing and selling fresh produce in Chicago much easier. In December, some of the biggest local names in urban agriculture had protested a previous proposal that they felt would stunt the growth of city gardens with cumbersome rules on plot size, high-end fencing and produce sales in residential areas. Erika Allen, head of seven nonprofit Growing Power farms in Chicago, predicted at the time that her group’s work “would be over” if the zoning ordinance passed. But Tuesday morning, Emanuel chose Allen’s new Iron Street Farm in Bridgeport to present his proposed ordinance — one that marks a turnaround on almost every thorny issue in the last proposal. “We’ve been working really hard to see this happen,” said Allen, who served on the mayor’s transition team. “I think it’s just a new administration and a changing of the guard. Former Mayor (Richard) Daley was supportive, but there was a lot of opposition coming out of (the zoning department) that was very much entrenched in ‘this is the way it we do it.’”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel aims to encourage urban agriculture - chicagotribune.com

Urban farmers were delighted Tuesday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a proposed ordinance that could make growing and selling fresh produce in Chicago much easier.

In December, some of the biggest local names in urban agriculture had protested a previous proposal that they felt would stunt the growth of city gardens with cumbersome rules on plot size, high-end fencing and produce sales in residential areas.

Erika Allen, head of seven nonprofit Growing Power farms in Chicago, predicted at the time that her group’s work “would be over” if the zoning ordinance passed.

But Tuesday morning, Emanuel chose Allen’s new Iron Street Farm in Bridgeport to present his proposed ordinance — one that marks a turnaround on almost every thorny issue in the last proposal.

“We’ve been working really hard to see this happen,” said Allen, who served on the mayor’s transition team. “I think it’s just a new administration and a changing of the guard. Former Mayor (Richard) Daley was supportive, but there was a lot of opposition coming out of (the zoning department) that was very much entrenched in ‘this is the way it we do it.’”