There could soon be a way to monitor things like air quality and vehicle traffic in the city of Chicago. Thanks to the Array of Things project, real-time data on a city will be assembled to make this happen. With scientists, government officials and just lay people from the community, this data will be formulated for predictions on current environmental fluctuations.
The project is being navigated by the University of Chicago and Argonne’s Urban Center for Computation and Data director, Charlie Catlett who is seeking to install 500 sensor nodes around the city. The plan ultimately is to install a network worldwide to “improve living and working in the city.”
“We talked to people in the city of Chicago to understand what their challenges are. And we found from talking with them and from our own work there’s a lot of data that’s missing, that should be able to be measured, and that requires data analytics, it requires data integration infrastructure, and it requires a measurement strategy.”
In line with the 2008 city deal, next year Chicago is slated to pay $20 million to the private firm which is hired to lease the city’s parking meters. The money will not be connected to the additional revenues that come from the meters.
As it stands, Chicago Parking Meters suffer losses due to meters being removed or taken out of commission. Even though the Mayor instigated changes a few years ago in an attempt to improve the situation for city tax payers (including free Sunday parking in some areas), there will still be a 16.3 percent increase from last year due to a “poorly managed” deal.
Meter parking rates have not increased in the city in the last five years.
A new plan has been launched by Andrea Zopp (Chicago’s Chief Neighborhood Development Officer and Deputy Mayor) to help 50 entrepreneurs open businesses in the city’s “thrive zones.” These areas – primarily on the south and west sides – are being primed for a boost of retail energy, with the hoping of expanding the downtown area’s economic growth to other areas.
The areas – Austin, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, Chatham, Englewood, South Shore, West Humboldt Park and West Pullman – have historically encountered substantial commercial action, which has been stunted in recent years.
The monetary assistance is intended to help local firms engage in business expansion, renovation, and more, ultimately leading to an increase in retail activity and additional job creation. Businesses involved in this include: beauty supply stores, fashion stores, grocery stores, etc. that already have a presence in the area.
Earlier this month there was significant advancement in the plan to develop affordable housing units in the same building as Chicago’s public libraries with the Mayor’s announcement as to which architects and developers won the bid for the project. The Irving Park, Little Italy and West Rogers Park facilities will all have access to ground floor libraries which will give community members and tenants services such as: early childhood learning programs, homework assistance, and teen digital tools among others.
The project first began in October of last year. A collaborative effort was developed by the Chicago Housing Authority in conjunction with the Chicago Public Library. The designs will – according to a statement – “break from the standard, cookie-cutter designs that are common to government buildings.”
In a report put out by the National Low Income Housing Coalition earlier this year Chicago was ranked at Number 37 for affordable housing availability. Hopefully it’ll go up on the list with these upcoming projects.