Welcome.

Smart Chicago is a civic organization devoted to improving lives in Chicago through technology. We work on increasing access to the Internet, improving skills for using Internet, and developing meaningful products from data that measurably contribute to the quality of life of residents in our region and beyond.

We are a startup that was founded in part by our municipal government and nurtured by some of its most venerable institutions. Our founding partners are the City of Chicago, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The Chicago Community Trust. As a funding collaborative, we help bring together municipal, philanthropic, and corporate investments in civic innovation.

We have a host of current projects and partnerships, and we are actively seeking to connect ideas and resources in all areas of philanthropy in Chicago.

Tweets Identify Food Poisoning Outbreaks

In Chicago monitoring Twitter for reports of food poisoning led to 133 restaurant inspections for health violations, with 21 establishments shut down. Dina Fine Maron reports.
During a 10-month stretch last year, staff members at the health agency responded to 270 tweets about “food poisoning.” Based on those tweets, 193 complaints were filed and 133 restaurants in the city were inspected. Twenty-one were closed down and another 33 were forced to fix health violations. That’s according to a study in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.[Jenine K. Harris et al, Health Department Use of Social Media to Identify Foodborne Illness — Chicago, Illinois, 2013–2014]

Here’s an article in a leading industry magazine about Foodborne Chicago. Snip:

An added benefit for public health agencies is that FoodBorne Chicago is an open-source framework, which will enable other health departments adopt the application free of charge, Harris said. Richardson said the cost of developing the FoodBorne Chicago program was “minimal between staff time and a few nominal costs for the server, the URL and things like that.”