• SSMMA

Governor Quinn Announces Winners of Illinois Open Technology Challenge


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Governor Pat Quinn announced the South Suburbs Housing Investment Tool as one of the winning entries in the pilot competition of the Illinois Open Technology Challenge (ILOpenTech), which called on developers to create digital tools that utilize open government data for the benefit of Illinois residents and their communications. The South Suburbs Housing Investment Tool is an online tool that allows users to analyze, score and rank potential housing development projects according to their location. The tool also superimposes the data on a fully navigable map.

“We commend these enterprising developers for applying their skills toward making municipal government more transparent and accessible for Illinoisans,” Governor Quinn said. “This first-of-its-kind initiative clearly demonstrates that Illinois is taking a national leadership role in embracing digital government and promoting open data, which is spurring more innovation and economic development statewide.”

Created by Dominic Strezo, Ryan Eckdale-Dudley and Jason Cleaver, the South Suburbs Housing Investment Tool analyzes more than 30 variables for each property that are used to rank redevelopment projects. The Illinois Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to adopt the model and use it as a template for other communities around the state with similar project scoring systems.

“Participating in this challenge opened our eyes to new opportunities and the need for additional open data access to improve communities throughout Illinois,” said Eckdale-Dudley. “While our system was created specifically for housing, we believe that it could be applied to other uses, such as prioritizing potential areas for brownfield redevelopment. We look forward to training the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association leadership on how to best use and implement this tool.”

The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) was able to take advantage of its existing geographic information system, the “South Suburban Atlas” (ssatlas.org), which houses a substantial amount of government data. The SSMMA used ILOpenTech to encourage local communities to release additional data for the Challenge.

“We are excited to explore ways that SSMMA and our member communities can apply the South Suburbs Housing Investment Tool to the housing development process,” said Ed Paesel, executive director of the SSMMA. “ILOpenTech has galvanized South Suburban communities to strengthen their commitment to open data and increased government transparency.”

The South Suburbs Housing Investment Tool joined winners from Belleville (BellevilleLaw.com), Champaign (CU-There!), as well as an app designed for use statewide (iApplied) – each of which was awarded $15,000. The city of Rockford also participated in the Open Tech Challenge, playing host to a series of developer meet-ups, which will culminate in an open tech app hackathon later this month.

ILOpenTech is an initiative of Governor Quinn’s Illinois Innovation Council and is managed by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC) in partnership with the Smart Chicago Collaborative. The program is focused on making Illinois’ open data platform, Data.Illinois.Gov, available and applicable to communities statewide through trainings, community meet-ups and hackathons, bringing together technology developers with civic leaders and community groups. The challenge was sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust, Comcast, Google, Illinois Innovation Council, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Motorola Mobility Foundation.

ILOpenTech is the state’s first sustained, engaged initiative outside the Chicago metro area to work hands-on with local governments and developers on the collection and publication of open data. It has created a strong foundation for starting or accelerating open data projects statewide by helping municipalities understand the nuts and bolts of using open data to drive innovation.

In advance of the competition, ILOpenTech worked with 12 government IT professionals in the four pilot communities to compile and publish 138 new sets of data about local government operations to Data.Illinois.Gov: 34 in Champaign, 15 in Rockford, 12 in Belleville and 77 from the 42 communities in the SSMMA.

“We are excited to explore ways that SSMMA and our member communities can apply the South Suburbs Housing Investment Tool to the housing development process,” said Ed Paesel, executive director of the SSMMA. “ILOpenTech has galvanized South Suburban communities to strengthen their commitment to open data and increased government transparency.”

“Throughout this first phase of ILOpenTech, we’ve seen the tremendous opportunity in gathering and packaging local government data in new ways that are useful to the general public,” said ISTC President and CEO Mark Harris. “By fostering partnerships between municipal governments and the Illinois developer community, we can increase transparency and accessibility, and spark innovation in both government and business.”

About the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition

The Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC) is a member-driven, nonprofit organization that works to cultivate and attract research and technology-based investment, talent and job growth in the state. Through strategic public-private partnerships, advocacy efforts and project management, ISTC connects government, academia and industry to leverage the state’s world-class resources to enhance Illinois’ position as a global hub for research, innovation and entrepreneurship. For more information, visit www.istcoalition.org

About the Smart Chicago Collaborative

The Smart Chicago Collaborative is an initiative that helps build the long-term capacity of the city of Chicago and its neighborhoods to realize the transformative potential of information technology. For more information, visit www.smartchicagocollaborative.org

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