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Sean Thornton

Data-Smart City Solutions

Sean Thornton is a Program Advisor for the Civic Analytics Network at Harvard's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and writer for Ash Center publication Data-Smart City Solutions.  Based in Chicago, Sean holds joint Masters’ degrees from the University of Chicago in Public Policy and Social Service Administration. His work has spanned the city's public, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors.
January 4, 2017

How a Smart City Tackles Rainfall

Taking a look at Chicago's new sensor-based stormwater management system.

October 3, 2016

Taking a Look Below a Smart City with Underground Infrastructure Mapping

The technology visually captures below-ground assets so that cities, utility companies and other players may reduce the time and cost required for street projects.

September 14, 2016

Chicago Turns to Open Source Tools for Annual Financial Reporting

The city’s Annual Financial Analysis report is significant because it exemplifies an open-source solution being embraced by a department that isn’t the city’s IT or innovation office.

July 27, 2016

Open Data Nation: Using Open Data to Integrate Predictive Analytics into City Operations

A D.C.-based civic startup had taken notice of Chicago's food inspections algorithm project and reached out to Montgomery County, Md., with the hopes of replicating it.

June 21, 2016

Chicago's Safer Beach Water Project Brings Citizen Data Scientists into Civic Tech

The Windy City will test four statistical models that seek to minimize both unnecessary beach warnings/closures and exposure to unsafe levels of E. Coli.

May 27, 2016

Chicago Encourages Other Cities to Replicate Its OpenGrid

Earlier this month, Chicago partner UTurn Data Solutions launched a new version of OpenGrid on the Amazon Web Services Marketplace that makes the adoption and maintenance of the application far simpler for other cities.

April 28, 2016

Chicago’s OpenGrid Gets the Civic User Testing Group Experience

The Civic User Testing Group, one of SmartChicago’s anchor programs, it compensates residents from all corners of the city to test civic websites and apps.

July 29, 2015

University of Chicago’s 'Plenario' Changes How We Use Open Data

Plenario lets users access, combine, download and visualize disparate sets of data all in the same place.

April 22, 2014

Chicago Public Library Goes Digital

Through its innovative new programs and services, CPL is helping redefine what modern learning centers look like — and what libraries are capable of in the 21st century.

January 7, 2014

Transforming Municipal Customer Service in Chicago

As cities quickly add more apps and other communication outlets, they need to develop organized CRM models—or risk creating an amorphous collection of disparate systems.

October 21, 2013

How Chicago’s Data Dictionary is Enhancing Open Government

The Chicago Data Dictionary is a searchable archive of “data describing data” containing information about the variety of data in Chicago’s numerous databases.

October 3, 2013

How Open Data is Transforming Chicago

In the past three years, the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology has grown their open data portal into one of the largest and most dynamic models of open government in the country.

September 30, 2013

The Chicago Tech Plan: Building a Model for Cities

A first-ever comprehensive technology plan for Chicago is aimed at using technology to increase social and economic opportunity.

July 24, 2013

Taking on Chicago's Social Problems with Analytics

The Data Science for Social Good Fellowship aims to make a positive social impact on Chicago going forward and help create a culture of social conscientiousness among data scientists.

July 12, 2013

Using Predictive Analytics to Combat Rodents in Chicago

By using data in innovative ways to help keep rat populations down, Chicago is putting to use a new strategy that can enhance rodent control initiatives and add precision to other strategies that address other urban problems.

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