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.

Eliminate the Digital Divide Advisory Committee Working Meeting

I chair the Eliminate the Digital Divide Advisory Committee , which advises the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in establishing criteria and procedures for identifying recipients of grants under the Digital Divide Elimination Act.

Here’s meeting notes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CF6J9L_uG0xCR5AgbC3_IMMfK76lUlo2lxGQOLqQcXA/edit

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Cook County Land Bank Training: How to Find Information About Properties (Updated with Video)

On July 24th, Smart Chicago Collaborative will present at the Cook County Land Bank Workshop at the Union League Club, hosted by the Metropolitan Planning Council. The workshop will help attendees understand how to work with the land bank to either buy or donate properties. Smart Chicago will present on how to locate information about properties.  We’ve outlined our presentation below the fold complete with a video demo.

11928 S. Prairie Ave. (Detail)

11928 S Praire Ave, Photo by Robin Amer

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Doing Business with Cook County’s Land Banks Training on July 24

Smart Chicago is working with the Cook County Land Bank and other organizations to conduct free training on how to do business with the land bank.

Christopher Whitaker and Josh Kalov will conduct a session on how to locate information about properties using myriad public data and online tools. Here’s more info on the training, which is set for July 24, 2014, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Cook County Land Bank Authority and South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority are open for business, ready and able to work with residents, organizations and businesses to put more than 55,000 vacant and abandoned homes, buildings and parcels back into productive use. The land banks and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), in partnership with Chicago Rehab Network, Community Investment Corporation, Neighborhood Housing Services and Smart Chicago Collaborative, invite you to learn about opportunities to partner with the land banks by attending this free workshop.

This interactive workshop will outline the land banks’ policies, powers and limitations and explain how community development corporations, neighborhood organizations, developers and investors can tap the land banks as resources. Through case studies and best practices, as well as a resource guide, the workshop will cover topics including researching vacant properties, identifying financing options and determining the feasibility of projects.