Mayor Emanuel Opens Tech Week with Remarks About the Smart Chicago Open 311 Project

Here’s a snip from “Rahm’s Latest Accountability Plan: An App That Tracks City Services” on

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will soon unveil an app Chicago residents can use to request city services—and then track the city’s response—he said this morning in the keynote address at Chicago’s TechWeek 2012 conference.

“We’ve opened up reams of city data for programmers to have at it and come up with the most innovative apps for their fellow residents to use: an app to find a towed car, snow plows, and street closures, an app for 311 calls, including tracking like a fedex shipping order,” he told the gathering of hundreds of digital businesspeople and techies at the Merchandise Mart.

Since 1999, Chicagoans have been able to call 311 to request city services or information. In recent years the service has offered status updates on the web, but Emanuel hopes to implement real-time tracking of citizen requests via a smartphone app as soon as this fall:

“I actually want the ability by by fall, when you call 311 and say you want to get X done—tree trimming, pot holing—you will actually get a tracking number. And so the next time you call it’s not like Groundhog Day at 311. Did they ignore me? Do I start this again? No.

“You may not like where you are in the queue, but you’ll be able to track it. You’ll be able to get information back.”

The Mayor shared this vision of a complete service request view in our recent meeting about the project sponsored by Smart Chicago. More to come!

Office Hours With Brett Goldstein, Acting Commissioner (CIO) and Chief Data Officer, Department of Innovation and Technology

One of my favorite things here at Smart Chicago Collaborative is working with technology and policy leadership in City government. There is a renewed energy and sense of focus in the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Innovation and Technology, and we help support that in a number of ways.

One way is through our presence at 1871, the digital startup center that is fast becoming a center for civic technology and innovation. Smart Chicago is hosting Brett Goldstein, Acting Commissioner (CIO) and Chief Data Officer, Department of Innovation and Technology, in office hours this Friday, June 15 (one slot left) and Thursday, June 28 (just opened– four spaces available).

Consider meeting with Brett to talk about city technology, city data, big data, and predictive analytics. The world of civic technology is growing, and Chicago is at the center. We need more technologists to work in this field— inside and outside government— to grow the technology industry and make lives better in Chicago.