Initiatives by Strategy


Establish next-generation infrastructure that enables residents and businesses to become more digitally-engaged

Initiative 1

Work with partners to increase speed and availability of broadband in Chicago

The City will promote implementation of the infrastructure required to improve the speed, cost, and availability of broadband in Chicago.

Initiative 2

Enable a “Digital Public Way”

The City will implement the policies necessary to interconnect the various points of physical interaction residents and businesses have with their city. As public infrastructure and objects become networked (public bikes, transit signage, etc.) the City will seek to require that the hyperlocal data they generate form an open platform for development in a manner that promotes innovation, maintains privacy, and assists local businesses.

Initiative 3

Implement policies and infrastructure to allow for urban technology experimentation

The City will implement policies and basic infrastructure that make Chicago friendly to technology experimentation, allowing Chicago to become a global leader in environmental sensing, spectrum research, and wireless connectivity, while enabling researchers to develop solutions to city problems.

Neighborhood Train

Every Community
a Smart Community

Ensure the full participation of all Chicago residents and businesses in the digital economy through training and engagement programs that make technology relevant, useful, and productive

Initiative 4

Establish a smart community benchmark and toolkit for broadband access and use

As an initiative of the World Business Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, LISC Chicago and the Smart Chicago Collaborative (SCC), working with public and civic partners, including the Chicago Public Library (CPL), will create a profile of a fully connected community that can be used as a benchmark, along with a toolkit of best practices, to help communities reach this standard of broadband access and use.

Initiative 5

Scale up Smart Communities

The City and its partners will look for opportunities to continue technology-use demonstrations in the current five Chicago neighborhoods identified for the BTOP Sustainable Broadband Adoption program, and use the benchmark to pilot the toolkit in additional communities.

Initiative 6

Make free Wi-Fi available in public places

The City and the Chicago Park District will make free Wi-Fi available in select parks, including parks in communities with limited or no access to Wi-Fi, to increase residents’ ability to access the Internet. The City will also reach out to community groups to spread awareness around how they can help increase Wi-Fi availability by establishing access points in their neighborhoods.

Initiative 7

Increase options for low-cost broadband

The City will work with private partners to develop new options for low-cost broadband, offering more residents access to low-cost Internet and increasing Internet usage citywide.

Initiative 8

Educate and engage young people in technology

The City will partner with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), CPL, and other institutions to educate and engage young people in technology, preparing them for the jobs of the future and building the city’s STEM workforce.

Initiative 9

Offer digital training and hands-on technology experience

The City, Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), CCC, CPL, and other partners will deliver digital training and create opportunities for hands-on experience with technology to increase residents’ digital literacy.

Initiative 10

Promote digital excellence activities

The City will help promote and guide public/private efforts to make every community a smart community. To encourage the use of the benchmark and toolkit, and enable residents to gain maximum benefit from digital technology, the City will help focus and coordinate activities among a large group of committed stakeholders who share this mission.

Initiative 11

Provide public computer access and support

The City, CHA, CCC, CPL, and other organizations will continue to run public computer labs to increase residents’ access to the Internet and their ability to use the Internet effectively.

Initiative 12

Make educational and creative resources available to residents

The City has several opportunities to engage residents in technology-related creative and educational activities, and to use technology to make educational assets available to residents. Making these resources available benefits residents and encourages engagement in technology.

Downtown Chicago by Dustin Halleck

Efficient, Effective,
and Open Government

Leverage data and new technology to make government more efficient, effective, and open

Initiative 13

Utilize data to drive efficiency and effectiveness

The City will continue to undertake projects to gather and analyze data that will allow City leaders to proactively address issues, with the goal of increasing government efficiency and effectiveness.

Initiative 14

Increase and improve City data

The City will continue to increase and improve the quality of City data available internally and externally, and facilitate methods for analyzing that data to help create a smarter and more efficient city.

Initiative 15

Leverage technology to improve communications

The City will expand and update its mobile, social media, and online technology to increase and improve communication and interaction with its residents.

Initiative 16

Focus on Enterprise implementation of technology

The City will implement a shared services model for IT across City departments and agencies that will result in better services at less cost through streamlined processes and the sharing of IT resources.

Initiative 17

Consolidate local government data centers

The City is building the Chicago Cloud to consolidate its data centers using state-of-the-art hardware and data management software. Other government entities will be invited to join in the future to further reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Initiative 18

Focus resources on innovative technology solutions

The City’s Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) will partner with the private sector to deliver commoditized technology, allowing staff to focus on developing innovative technology solutions to issues only government can address.

Chicago Lake Sky View

Civic Innovation

Work with civic technology innovators to develop creative solutions to city challenges

Initiative 19

Research data-driven solutions to major urban challenges

The City’s Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) will continue to use data analytics to help managers across the City explore—and solve—some of the most vexing problems facing municipalities.

Initiative 20

Bolster transparency and support civic hackers

DoIT and Smart Chicago Collaborative will continue to provide a broad range of intellectual and financial resources to help residents and civic technologists use technology to improve urban life.

Think Chicago

Sector Growth

Encourage the vibrancy of Chicago’s Technology Sector by attracting and retaining STEM professionals and supporting the creation and expansion of technology companies

Initiative 21

Expand the number of physical incubator and co-working spaces in the city

ChicagoNEXT, industry leaders, academia, and others will create a center for Chicago biotech and pharmaceutical start-ups. This incubator, networking, collaboration, and business acceleration space will help increase the number and size of bioscience companies, improve research, and increase opportunities for commercializing research.

Initiative 22

Expand the number of successful networks that exist to connect entrepreneurs with customers, venture capital, and mentorship opportunities

The City of Chicago and ChicagoNEXT will create a program to connect start-ups and the business community in various ways to develop partnerships that will provide guidance and funding, and drive synergies and momentum in the technology community.

Initiative 23

Attract and retain a talented, diverse STEM workforce

The Mayor and the city’s business community will continue to encourage STEM professionals to join Chicago’s talented technology workforce by actively recruiting on college campuses and through other activities.

Initiative 24

Showcase “Why Chicago” is a destination technology city through consistent messaging and events

The City will partner with the city’s many technology stars and other business leaders in a variety of events and other promotional activities to share the narrative of Chicago as a technology destination to attract workers and businesses to locate here.

Initiative 25

Encourage technology firms to promote their ties to Chicago

The City will encourage technology firms in Chicago to share their civic pride to demonstrate to the world the many successes in, and vibrancy of, Chicago’s Technology Sector.

Initiative 26

Strengthen connections with world-renowned academic research institutions

The City will join forces with the academic and business communities and others to establish U of I Labs, enact research friendly policies, and hold forums designed to demonstrate Chicago’s place as a major research center, as a means of drawing the best and the brightest to Chicago and increasing commercialization opportunities.

Initiative 27

Foster a business-friendly environment

The City will further foster a regulatory and policy-based environment in which businesses can flourish and grow by reviewing current business-related requirements and processes, such as permits and procurement, updating where appropriate.

Initiative 28

Promote ways to increase venture capital and other funding available to start-ups

To help attract funding to Chicago-based start-ups, the City and business leaders will work to attract VC firms to Chicago and provide support to existing firms as they reach out to other VC firms worldwide.

Computer Room