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Chicago Wed Nov 17 2010
Today marks the official launch of MetroPulse Chicago, a new website that is the heart of the joint Regional Indicators Project being championed by The Chicago Community Trust and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).
MetroPulse acts as an open-source data platform that allows press outlets, government officials, and concerned citizens to access over 20,000 data sets on 200+ different indicators that track quantifiable issues throughout Chicagoland. Using a broad array of indicators, from unemployment to foreclosure density to infant mortality rates to political participation, MetroPulse provides a picture of quality of life as measured in data.
The site serves many purposes, no small part being an ongoing checklist for the implementation of many of the recommendations of CMAP's GO TO 2040 Plan. By making such an aggregation of information readily available to any and every interested party, the Community Trust and CMAP are truly providing a means for mass engagement in development and community issues. While a site as exhaustive as MetroPulse will require constant upkeep and inputs of new data, its ability to level the playing field in terms of access to the details that shape the region - with both elected official and constituent feeding from the same source - carries the potential to change the tenor of discussion between political bodies and their public into something more frank than normal.
Give your neighborhood a test run on the site now, and start thinking about all the questions in store for those aldermanic candidates popping up all over the place.