John Tolva, Chicago’s new chief technology officer, isn’t wasting any time looking to revolutionize the way the city’s agencies do business. He recently announced his intention to turn the Second City into an interactive platform where open data is used to increase the efficiency of government services.
“There are makers, builders and developers who see the city as a new domain, as a new problem set,” Tolva said in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. “How might we become as digitally literate a place as we are architecturally literate?”
Tolva’s plans for Chicago include leveraging open data to make city operations more transparent and building on Chicago’s “Digital Excellence” plan, which brings broadband and modern technology to underserved areas.
“The city has been publishing data for quite some time,” Tolva said in the Sun-Times article. “We’re about to put that into overdrive.”
Appointed by Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and on the job since May, Tolva formerly served as IBM’s director of citizenship and technology, where he focused on the development of cultural heritage, education, environmental and social projects that utilize the latest technologies.
Emanuel is a proponent of open government. In April, he announced his intention to open the city’s 311 system to the public, during a tour of the Microsoft Technology Center in Chicago.