DataMade at the Code for America Summit

Published on Oct 02, 2014

The Code for America Summit, a yearly open government and civic tech conference, was held in San Francisco last week.

In the conference’s fourth year, a major theme was that the effectiveness of civic technology depends upon identifying the right problem, organizing the right constituents, marketing to the right audience, and embedding the technology in a larger campaign or strategy.

These are exactly the kinds of projects that DataMade takes on. And we were fortunate to be able to share two of our client’s stories to this international community of government leaders, funders, policy experts, and technologists.

Large Lots in Chicago

In the Spring of 2014, the City of Chicago announced a policy that would let Chicago residents buy vacant lots on their block for $1. LISC Chicago had helped develop the policy, and worked with the City, community organizations, and DataMade to make sure that residents took advantage of this opportunity.

Demond Drummer and I shared our experience combining community organizing and civic tech with LISC Chicago to make In the talk, Demond tells the history of the Englewood neighborhood, the community meetings that led to the Green Healthy Neighborhoods Land Use Plan and the creation of the Large Lots Pilot. I then describe the maturing civic tech community in Chicago and how we were able to put together a multidisciplinary team with LISC, the City of Chicago, Teamwork Englewood and DataMade to enable the policy to succeed.

You can watch the whole thing here:

Read more about the launch of and the second pilot in East Garfield Park.

The Launch of

During Brett Goldstein’s talk on Understanding Urban Ecosystems, he officially announced the launch of, a project by the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD) for exploring and filtering open data through space and time.

DataMade, along with UrbanCCD and researchers from the Computation Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, built as a ‘one stop shop’ for civic data from cities all over the world.

You can watch Brett’s talk here:

Read more about the launch of and its coverage on WBEZ and Chicago Magazine.

Other #CfASummit highlights

There were over 50 talks given at the Code for America Summit and several new projects were announced. Here are some of our favorites:

Launched at the summit

  • Open Data ETL Utility Kit - Tom Schenk Jr from the City of Chicago released an Open Data ETL Utility Kit to help other municipalities automate the release of open data. Read more about it on the Smart Chicago blog.

  • Civic Quarterly - A new publication about transforming government with digital tools and design thinking.

Main stage talks

All of the talks from the Summit are up on YouTube, and you can follow the highlights on Twitter with the #cfasummit hashtag.