Chicago has launched a new data transparency website intended to enhance public access to key information on the city services and community investments funded via the Chicago Recovery Plan.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the new website, ChiRecoveryPlan.com, provides centralized access to data across dozens of individual programs and includes interactive maps to visualize the Chicago Recovery Plan’s footprint across the city’s 77 community areas.
“When I took office, I made a commitment to bring greater transparency and more robust civic engagement to city government,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This first-of-its-kind transparency website highlights the unprecedented scope of the $1.2 billion in investments being made through the Chicago Recovery Plan while setting a new standard for government accountability.”
According to a press release from the city, the Chicago Recovery Plan is the city’s plan to amplify “once-in-a-generation” Federal funding to “create an equity-based investment strategy and catalyze a sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.” The funding, which totals $1.2 billion, will go towards dozens of programs across city departments covering 13 key priority areas ranging from affordable housing and community development to public health and violence prevention.
“For the first time, Chicago is opening the books on neighborhood investments in a simple, accessible digital format,” said Chief Technology Officer Nick Lucius. “This website is the result of a tremendous amount of painstaking, resident-focused research, and development. It is a model for resident exploration of community investments that is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of city programs and services. A lot of data is generated by $1.2 billion dollars of programs, and this site delivers on Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to transparency and accountability by making that data accessible to Chicago communities.”
Through the new website, residents can see a comprehensive summary of the Chicago Recovery Plan programs active in their community. Specifically, residents can see things such as the number of trees planted nearby, where local businesses have received grants to reactivate vacant storefronts, and how many community members have participated in city youth programs.
To build out the website, the city partnered with DataMade, a Chicago-based data and web consultancy firm.
“At DataMade, we know that data doesn’t tell a story to everyone by itself,” said Hannah Cushman Garland, partner at DataMade. “We are excited to partner with the city to organize this broad dataset by theme and geography to make it clear, relevant, and useful to Chicago residents and city staff alike. This project sets a new standard not just for transparency and accountability but also for accessibility and ease of use of government data products.”