@ChicagoCTO Talks #CivicStartups

What are promising opportunities for civic startups?

Recently, I asked mentors of CfA’s Startup Accelerator who happened to work inside city hall to identify ripe open data sets for entrepreneurs thinking about creating a civic startup. Over the next few weeks leading up to the June 1 deadline (apply here), I’ll be posting their responses, tagged #civicstartup.

To start, here’s what Chicago’s CTO John Tolva sent in:

Having given this some thought I think the relationship between our crime data set (10 years+) and our building data (building permits, business licenses, and vacancies/abandonment) is the highest value — and also underutilized. The thought here is to create an application/analytic that ask the following question: what is the relationship between changes to the built environment and public safety? You can look at the kinds of structures (and the uses to which they are put) that are permitted in a given area over a wide swath of time and see the consequences on criminality. Think liquor stores, parks, schools, small business, transit stations — the patterns are likely much more nuanced than we think. But such an inquiry would also have real policy implications. What the City allows to be built where absolutely has an impact on public safety. The question is exactly how.


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