Cook County Forest Preserves Map

Where can I bring my dog? How do I access that trail? Where can I go cross country skiing? Where can I have that big party? The Forest Preserves of Cook County in partnership with Smart Chicago has developed the Forest Preserves of Cook County interactive map. The Cook County Forest Preserves Map shows location and information about trails, points of interest, activities, and groves.

Some special features of interest:

  • Uses GPS to find trails, points of interest, and activities near you and get directions.
  • Users can search by activity, location name, city, and zip code.
  • The page URL updates as you search or view location details. You can bookmark all the best places to fly model airplanes or share with friends that the picnic is at Schiller Woods-East. Because the page URL updates, the browser back and forward buttons can be used to go to the last search or view.
  • Mobile friendly: The map is designed for both desktop and mobile use. On a mobile device, a user can toggle between list and map views.
  • Search and filtering is local making it more reliable out in the field with an inconsistent mobile connection.

On 10/30/17,  we rolled out the alerts functionality. The map will now show any alerts on the map detail panel. There is also a list version that is embedded on the Forest Preserves website under “Construction, Closures & Other Work“.

The web application is built on two pieces of source code: Trailsy and Trailsy Server, both pioneered by Code for America. All of the data used to power the site is open for all and can be followed on the project’s GitHub page. I am a long-time Smart Chicago Consultant and the main developer on the project who is also working closing with Cook County’s Department of Technology to tackle open data processes and policies countywide. This project was made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Healthy Hotspot initiative led by the Cook County Department of Public Health. Learn more at healthyhotspot.org.

So what can you do at the Cook County Forest Preserves? Here are 5 suggestions:

  1. Did you know that you can play Disc Golf at Cook County Forest Preserves Rolling Knolls Disc Golf Course in Elgin?
  2. Hike 16 miles through the North Branch Trail System Red Paved Trail.
  3. Check out the Kid’s Corner and Butterfly Garden at Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland.
  4. Go on a Treetop Adventure and Zip Line at Bemis Woods.
  5. Rent a boat at the Busse Lake Boating Center and explore Busse Lake.

Let us know what you think! Tweet to us @smartchicago and to me @joshkalov.

SMART CHICAGO IS MOVING!!!

Good News!!! The Smart Chicago team is moving and now will be co-located with the City Digital Team at UI Labs. As such, our individual emails will be changing to:

Kyla Williams           kyla.williams@uilabs.org

Sonja Marziano       sonja.marziano@uilabs.org

Denise Linn               denise.riedl@uilabs.org

Leslie Durr                 leslie.durr@uilabs.org

Our new mailing address is 1415 N. Cherry Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 and general phone number is 312.281.6900.

Please check our website at www.smartchicagocollaborative.org or follow us on twitter @smartchicago for more updates.

We appreciate your patience during this time of transition.

Documentation from the Array of Things Public Meeting at Harold Washington Library

We’ve compiled documentation from the Array of Things Public Meeting on June 22, 2016 at Harold Washington Library. This is part of our Array of Things Civic Engagement project — a series of community meetings and feedback loops to create dialogue around the Array of Things project, collect community input on privacy, and introduce concepts around how the Internet of Things can benefit communities.

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The purpose of the Array of Things Public Meeting was to educate the public on the Array of Things project and help facilitate community feedback on the Array of Things Governance & Privacy policy. These were open meetings in Chicago Public Library Branches. No knowledge of technology or sensors was required to be a welcome, meaningful addition to the event.

Pictures

Here is a link to a Smart Chicago album on Flickr with all photographs from the event. See a selection of the photographs below:

Social Media

Here is a Storify of the meeting created by Smart Chicago:

Handouts

 Below is the flyer used to the promote the event. Smart Chicago documenters tasked with outreach distributed flyers and event information around the city, focusing on community spaces like churches, computer centers, libraries, small businesses, etc.

Lavelle_Dollop Coffee
Here is an agenda that was distributed at the meeting:

Here is a map distributed at the meeting that showcases the possible Array of Things Sensor node locations:

Here is the full text of the privacy policy that was distributed during the event also found online here:

Here is a one-pager distributed to meeting participates describing how they can provide feedback on the policy:

Presentations

 Here are the slides that Charlie Catlett of UrbanCCD used at the event:

Here are the slides that Brenna Berman, CIO for the City of Chicago, used at the event:

Notes

Below are the detailed notes from the event which we continue to compile and improve. Very important disclaimer: this is an unofficial record of proceedings and not an exact transcript of the event — rather, a summary of the conversation. We are certain that there are errors and omissions in this document. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, contact Smart Chicago here.

This documentation is made possible by our Smart Chicago Documenters Program. Our Documenters program is an essential tool for us to add new thinkers, generate ideas, and expand the field for civic tech. The Program played an important role in other Smart Chicago Projects like the Chicago School of Data and the Police Accountability Meeting coverage. Leah Lavelle, Liz Baudler, and Veronica Benson assisted with event outreach. Liz Baulder assisted with notes. Angel Rodriguez took pictures. Lucia Gonzalez and Veronica Benson provided general event support.

Documentation from the Array of Things Public Meeting at Lozano Library

We’ve compiled documentation from the Array of Things Public Meeting on June 14, 2016 at the Lozano Library Branch. This is part of our Array of Things Civic Engagement project — a series of community meetings and feedback loops to create dialogue around the Array of Things project, collect community input on privacy, and introduce concepts around how the Internet of Things can benefit communities.

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The purpose of the Array of Things Public Meeting was to educate the public on the Array of Things project and help facilitate community feedback on the Array of Things Governance & Privacy policy. These were open meetings in Chicago Public Library Branches. No knowledge of technology or sensors was equired to be a welcome, meaningful addition to the event.

Pictures

Smart Chicago created album on Flickr with all photographs from the event. Here is a selection:

Social Media

Here is a Storify of the meeting created by Smart Chicago.

Handouts

Below is the flyer used to the promote the event. Smart Chicago documenters tasked with outreach distributed flyers and event information around the city, focusing in particular on community spaces in Pilsen — churches, computer centers, libraries, small businesses, etc.

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Here is an agenda that was distributed at the meeting:

Here is a map distributed at the meeting that showcases the possible Array of Things Sensor node locations:

Here is the full text of the privacy policy that was distributed during the event also found online at this link:

Here is a one-pager distributed to meeting participates describing how they can provide feedback on the policy:

Here is a letter submitted in person by the community coalition, FAiR:

Presentation

Here are the slides that Charlie Catlett of UrbanCCD used at the event:

Notes

Below are the detailed notes from the event which we continue to compile and improve. Very important disclaimer: this is an unofficial record of proceedings and not an exact transcript of the event — rather, a summary of the conversation. We are certain that there are errors and omissions in this document. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, contact Smart Chicago here.

This documentation is made possible by our Smart Chicago Documenters Program. Our Documenters program is an essential tool for us to add new thinkers, generate ideas, and expand the field for civic tech. The Program played an important role in other Smart Chicago Projects like the Chicago School of Data and the Police Accountability Meeting coverage. Nourhy Chiriboga and Liz Baudler assisted with event outreach.  Veronica Benson assisted with event outreach, notes, and pictures. Jackie Serrato took pictures. Lucia Gonzalez provided Spanish language support.

Healthy Chicago 2.0: City Sets Broad, Data-driven Goals

Healthy Chicago 2.0 launch

Allison Arwady, ‎chief medical officer at the Chicago Department of Public Health, discusses infectious disease rates March 29 at the Healthy Chicago 2.0 launch.

Chicago’s 2020 public-health plan is data driven. The city is putting numbers behind 60 health outcomes it wants to improve, from raising life expectancy to reducing infant mortality, gun violence, obesity and even binge drinking.

A 60-page report sets 82 public-health objectives to reach by the end of the decade. Many address larger issues that touch on health. Chicago aims to cut serious injuries in traffic accidents by one-third, and to boost walking, biking and public transit commutes 10 percent.

“The environment is right to bring in new data sets,” said epidemiologist Nik Prachand, the report’s co-author with deputy health commissioner Jaime Dircksen. Facing a 4 percent cut in the department’s funding, health professionals are trying to influence choices throughout the $7.8 billion city budget.

At the report’s March 29 unveiling, the South Shore Cultural Center displayed city maps from the report, with areas of the greatest need colored red. On measures of crime, housing and economic development, the most-afflicted areas matched the neighborhoods with poor health outcomes. (Smart Chicago Collaborative presents much of this data on its Chicago Health Atlas website.)

Teen birth rates continue to fall,” said Dr. Julie Morita, the city’s health commissioner. Chicago has blown through a 2020 citywide target set in 2011. The city also met its 2011 goal for cutting smoking among high-schoolers, and is on track to cut HIV diagnoses.

“But disparities persist,” Morita said. “This is not acceptable.” The city counts more than 70 per 1,000 teen births in West Garfield Park and West Englewood, but less than 5 per 1,000 in other neighborhoods.

Communities that score low for educational, social and economic attainment also show the most births among teenagers, plus higher risks of outcomes from asthma to homicide. “It became clear to us that this should drive our work with Healthy Chicago 2.0,” Morita said – not only treating poor health but addressing its root causes.

Top priorities in the 2020 plan include behavioral health, adult and adolescent health, chronic and infectious disease, and violence. Each interest comes with numeric targets for change. The behavioral health plan would cut ambulance calls for suspected opiate overdoses 20 percent and mental-health hospitalizations 10 percent, and would step up treatment for severe psychological stress by 10 percent. Specific communities get special attention, including a pledge to cut suicide attempts by 10 percent among gay or transgender teens.

Local residents and health workers helped guide the broader approach in 18 months of agenda-setting meetings. Attendees at the plan’s launch say the approach makes sense: They see similar connections among bad results of all sorts.

“Typically at a restaurant we have found a correlation between labor violations and health and sanitation violations,” said Felipe Tendick Matesanz, development specialist at Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

Tendick Matesanz was part of a team that set the plan’s community development strategies. It aims to improve well-being by boosting savings and assets among low-income residents. The city still needs baseline measurements for that goal.

The plan’s first deliverables are steps toward better metrics. The city will adopt research principles and launch a “public health data partnership” by July 1. Prachand wants to track health inequities using retail, insurance, land use and other metrics. He also wants to draft standards for data integrity and privacy.

“We’re looking to shake up the private sector,” he said. “People complain about government data being slow, but there’s a firewall around private data. It’s not available to you.”

To build a framework for evidence-based policy, the city pledges to launch a functional data network by July 2017. By the end of 2017, it should have infrastructure in place for training and for publicizing research.

Six public meetings in May will give an overview of the plan and ask for ideas.

Caregivers are enthusiastic about the expansive view of the city’s health. “It’s going to take the whole community of people to work cohesively together,” said public-health nurse Donna Feaster.

“For all of us this is part of our mission. In the end, it’s about people who need services,” said Karen Reitan, executive director of the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, who served on the report’s steering committee. She believes the city’s goal-setting collaborators in the health community now will be motivated to act.

Reitan thinks the push for metrics will make agencies more responsive too. “There’s a school of thought, which I don’t agree with,” she said. “If it did not get recorded, it did not happen.”

Healthy Chicago 2.0: Health Action Plan Marshals Community, Data to Target Root Causes

Chicago’s public health goals are shifting toward battling crime, tenement housing and other stubborn social concerns. Nearly a year of data-driven community discussions have led the city’s health professionals to look beyond their traditional roles treating infections, substance abuse and other conditions.

“There are chunks of population in Chicago that are just suffering tremendously, and we just aren’t targeting our resources in the right way,” says Jaime Dircksen, deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “We started this process with equity in mind, and with the goal of achieving equity across the city. I think having that lens really led to people feeling comfortable talking about some of the causes of these problems.”

Attacking these problems meant coming up with an approach other city departments would support in their own programs. Now the Healthy Chicago 2.0 plan is being circulated in City Hall for unveiling in late fall. Its priorities emerged in a community-driven process, developed for public health agencies with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This plan is not the health department’s plan, it’s the city’s plan. Everyone plays a role in improving the health of the city,” Dircksen says. “We will be meeting with city department heads to make sure they understand what’s being put forth in the plan and will champion the plan. Then we’ll convene the interagency council of city agencies and share with them the draft of everything,. We’re identifying the opportunities where we can create synergy. “

Data to the people

Some 800 people contributed to the goal-setting process, a quarter of them in 10 working groups that set objectives and strategies. A data-intensive approach kept this potentially unwieldy goal-setting effort on track.

Percent of live births in which mother began prenatal care during 1st trimester, 1999 - 2009 (Chicago Health Atlas)

Percent of live births in which mother began prenatal care during 1st trimester, 1999 – 2009 (Chicago Health Atlas)

Public-health staffers gave work-group volunteers a thick stack of statistics on births and deaths, hospitalizations and personal habits. They mapped health outcomes by neighborhood, conducted survey research and adopted novel ways to probe the underlying causes of chronic diseases.

Finally, they faced down the realities of an austere 2016 city budget. The health department controls only $149 million directly, a 4 percent cut. Most of that is set aside for AIDS, women’s and children’s health, mental-health and emergency services.

“There’s a strong paradox constantly at work,” says Nikhil Prachand, the health department’s director of epidemiology and public health informatics. “It’s impossible to narrow down the priorities, but if you don’t have a lot of money it should be easy to narrow down the priorities. “

Smart Chicago will play a role in measuring the plan’s success. The city will use the Chicago Health Atlas website to mark progress toward goals for 2020.

“We will have a dashboard of indicators monitoring every action area,” Dircksen says. A website update will “really dive deep into community area data so that the community can see progress,” she says. “Community-based organizations can use it as a resource for funding opportunities and monitoring their own work.”

Planning began last year with surveys in English and Spanish, asking broadly about a healthy environment. Residents across the economic spectrum united around safety and access to healthy food as citywide needs. Yet there wasn’t much agreement on neighborhood needs.

In areas under economic stress, crime emerged as the top priority. In affluent areas – nearly half the sample – respondents were more concerned about the built environment as a local issue. The widest gulf was in access to education, based on agreement with statements like, ”Schools in my neighborhood have what they need to provide a high quality education.”

Tackling broader issues like safety, Dircksen argues, takes “understanding that people aren’t going to parks because they don’t feel safe, they’re not well lit, there’s trash all over the place, that’s where the gang violence happens — then thinking out how to respond to those issues.”

Percent of occupied crowded housing units, 2007-2011 (Chicago Health Atlas)

Percent of occupied crowded housing units, 2007-2011 (Chicago Health Atlas)

Root causes

Five panels probed more deeply into the equity questions. “They did a focus group with our hotline volunteers to hear the stories they’ve heard,” says John Bartlett, executive director of the Metropolitan Tenants Organization. “And they asked about their lives also, because many of them are tenants.“

University of Illinois at Chicago students scored the responses, along with content from a half-dozen StoryCorps oral histories. They found common themes – problems navigating mainstream society and a sense of powerlessness. Again, health issues were linked to larger social problems.

“For example, mold will trigger asthma,” Bartlett says. “We are continually counseling parents whose children have uncontrolled asthma, informing them of steps they have to take to get their landlords to make the environment safer for their kids. Oftentimes landlords can be recalcitrant about that.

“We will inspect units for things like paint dust, and if there is, work with the health department to get a city inspection and encourage families to get their kids tested,” he adds. “And bedbugs are definitely a stressor in people’s lives. They blame themselves, but it’s not anyone’s fault. These creatures are just hitchhiking all over the place.”

The next step was to share the results with local health advocates. Many were frustrated at the lack of money, equity, attention and political will to take on core issues. And they saw traps ahead for clients navigating Affordable Care Act enrollment and mental health clinic closures.

“We were happy because the city was making efforts to be accessible and to be inclusive of the disabilities community,” says Gary Arnold, spokesman for Access Living, which hosted one of the advocate forums.

Local Pubic Health System Assessment (Chicago Department of Public Health)

Local Pubic Health System Assessment (Chicago Department of Public Health)

Opportunities and threats

In one exercise, service providers scored the local health system using a CDC-approved framework. Working groups saw electronic health records posing opportunities for data sharing and monitoring, and threats from uneven adoption and stale information.

Health advocates saw new communication tools as potential threats, raising access barriers or triggering changes in brain development and socialization. But technology also was part of the solution: Ideas included wrist monitors, health provider networks and a 2-1-1 phone line to take health and human service calls.

“We ended up with 50 priorities, and they’re all very important,” Dirksen says. Grouping them yielded a more workable list of 16 themes, which were ranked by public and private stakeholders in the Partnership for Healthy Chicago. The city convened 10 expert panels this summer to draft objectives and strategies in key areas.

HEALTHY CHICAGO 2.0 ACTION AREAS

  1. Access to healthcare and human services
  2. Behavioral Health
  3. Chronic disease prevention and control
  4. Community development
  5. Data & Research
  6. Education equity
  7. Infectious Disease
  8. Maternal, Infant, Child and Adolescent Health
  9. Partnerships and Community Engagement
  10. Violence and Injury Prevention

“The first thing is laying out the roadmap then creating the will to fund it,” says Bartlett, who joined the community development team. “If we’re serious about having a healthier Chicago we need to look at prevention. All the departments dealing with housing should be on the same page looking at health as part of the decision-making process. How do we make sure Chicago housing is affordable and healthy? It’s not good to have only one without the other. “

Distributed network

The teams will reconvene next month to draft detailed plans. Eight final themes will mirror the action areas, with data and engagement as strategies throughout. “We can’t do any of this work without having the data to inform it, the research to gather additional data – and it’s an all-hands-on-deck effort,” Dircksen says.

Data will help make the case for funds, and track whether they’ve been spent wisely. “Community development is focused primarily on capital improvements – improving CTA stations, rehabbing schools, building structures,” Prachand says. “We have been able to assess the health of the city’s commercial areas and offered a number of metrics. We can monitor over time and give feedback whether these capital improvement projects and grand plans are having some impact on people. “

The plan calls for more community input, in projects such as locating new Divvy bike stations on the South Side. “How do you know where the next best place is? Not necessarily by looking at a map,” Dircksen says. “They have to talk to the community leaders and stakeholders. We’re talking about the public health planning and transportation planning worlds coming together, and working together to identify mutual benefit and priorities.”

The city will count on private agencies to take on some of the burden. “Funders are wholly committed to obesity, metal health, access to care, violence prevention,” Dircksen says. “They appreciate and understand housing is health care. But then they’re giving across the city, not making a great impact, and not necessarily using evidence-based strategies. How do we work with them to make sure they understand what the evidence is and what does work, and concentrate their efforts in places or with populations which we know need the most?”

“It’s our job to mobilize and motivate the community to be a part of this,” she adds. “By 2020 we expect to achieve all the things we’ve laid out. I think with this process we will have a lot of engagement come launch because people will have been involved throughout the process. There’s a lot of evidence that when you engage people from the very beginning, they’re more likely to buy in, they’re more likely to act.

“If we don’t address environment and community conditions and access to care, we’ll never be able to impact the lives of people,” she adds. “At the forefront we will focus on those root causes of why folks are overweight, why they’re smoking, why they aren’t caring for their chronic conditions or their mental illness, or why pregnant moms can’t get prenatal care or can’t deliver a healthy baby.”