Chicago: City of Big Data

Chicago is a brilliant city. I spent nearly a week in Chicago after the .Astronomy6 conference, mainly checking out skyscrapers and Frank Lloyd Wright houses (of course), hanging out in the Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park, and being dazzled by the Bowie exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Where do I start with the love? Well, the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is probably a good start. As well as being the first port of call for architectural tours of the city and heritage sites, the have an excellent permanent exhibition called  Chicago - City of Big Data. Through interactive displays, recreated sections of Chicago, the exhibition reveals the potential of urban data and offers a new perspective on Chicago and cities everywhere. It's damn impressive and I think I spent a good hour learning about all the data. Fortuitously I also ended up chatting with the curator for another 45 minutes about how urban data is collected, who analyses it in Chicago and the rising trend of urban planning/smart cities/community driven data mining (Chicago has a similar event to Australia's GovHack) for assessing the sustainability of major cities around the world. I also took a stack of photos and videos. Here are just a few:

The Chicago - City of Big Data highlights website has a pretty good explanation of the main data sets: reports of pot holes, rats, energy consumption, and how personal data is collected. I'd love to see a similar exhibition for Melbourne. They also have and architectural lego centre. Nice.