Daniel O’Neil, Smart Chicago Collaborative executive director, said the IRS might get some takers. “It’s not an immense amount of money, but it’s certainly a great amount for people who are doing a nights-and-weekends project,” he said.
Smart Chicago, a tech-based organization in the Windy City, tracks information from Chicago law enforcement – “the entire flow, from the commission of a crime to the person going to jail,” says Dan X. O’Neil, its executive director. “The impetus was that the city of Chicago publishes an enormous amount of crime data” that can be used to examine trends, The organization is also teaching computer coding and website development to kids in “neighborhoods most affected by violence and crime,” he adds. “That, we think, is one solution to mass incarceration and hopelessness and crime.”
My role was to take part in the conceptual model of OpenGrid, working with City technology officials to plan the work, and help manage the work of the Smart Chicago tech consultant, Uturn Data Solutions.
Here’s a snip from the launch coverage in the Harvard Data-Smart City Solutions piece on the launch:
“A collaborative union between developers, residents, and government – that’s what Smart Chicago is about, and that’s what OpenGrid is about too,” O’Neil noted at the application’s launch. “This is why we’re on it.” To build the service layer, Smart Chicago commissioned UTurn Data Solutions, a local IT consultancy focused data storage and Cloud computing projects.
Dan O’Neil, executive director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, which assisted on the project, reminded developers that tools such as OpenGrid are a first step. He pointed out that despite Chicago’s advances in open data, problems such as police misconduct have arguably gotten worse.
“There are no dots on a map that stopped that from happening,” O’Neil said. “There is no set of crime statistics that stopped that from happening. We have to find ways to have communion with people who are not here.”
Today I spoke of the failure of civic tech to keep up with advances in the real world around civic engagement. Here’s a snip:
Dan X. O’Neil ⇒, executive director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, suggested that civic tech would be improved by its leaders spending more time with activists and organizers to learn about their experiences and draw ideas for new tools and services from those conversations.
“I don’t see a direct connection between the people on the streets and the people making tech tools,” he said.