About Chicago Cityscape

Chicago Cityscape makes neighborhood, property, and construction development data accessible to all.

  • We track demolitions, teardowns, business licenses, and building permits and violations.
  • We emphasize development near transit, of affordable housing, preservation, and special projects awaiting city approval.
  • We promote development news on the South and West Sides.

Where it comes from

Chicago Cityscape was founded in 2014 to simplify finding building projects and the individuals and businesses who make them using the city's open and extensive neighborhood development datasets.

Who makes it

photo of Steven Vance

Steven Vance

Founder and CEO

photo of Samantha Kearney

Samantha Kearney

Policy & Data Analyst, author of '1909'

Data we use

We use open data from the City of Chicago and other sources.

Open data frees public information and is made available without restrictions, without cost to the user, and in a format that's easily transformed. This means a table of information stored as a table, instead of stored as an image or a PDF. It means an API that can be called upon to provide a fast answer. More specifically, open data is that which can be downloaded for free and opened in a spreadsheet or GIS application.

These data may contain personally identifying information, including names, addresses, and phone numbers, all of which are part of the public record when the person submits an application for a building permit, business license, or another process.



Everyone can create a Chicago Cityscape Neighbor account for free and access additional building permits data as well as subscribe to daily (when there's activity) updates about a specific neighborhood, ward, or other boundary.


Architecture, building, construction, and development industry professionals who become Pro members gain access to the full suite of building and property data and analysis tools.


Use our API to programmatically retrieve political, zoning, and geographic information about addresses and properties in Cook County. The API is documented on our GitHub account and is available to Pro members.

Custom reports

Don't have time to search through our data? Do you need analysis you can't find in our tools? We can develop custom reports and analyses. Contact us and tell us what you need.

News & Media

We are constantly adding new features, new maps, and new data to sustain our mission making neighborhood development data more accessible to our diverse group of clients and citizen users.

Our What's New page is dedicated to outlining additions and changes to our products, as well as pointing to articles in the media about Chicago Cityscape or the data we publish.

Privacy policy

We will not sell your name or email address. We may at times use a Google Analytics tracking cookie that helps us understand demographics about our website visitors. You can opt out.

We don't store your location when you use any of the GPS or "locate me" buttons on the site. This information is used only to show your location on a map or to identify a building you're near. Once the site has done that your location is forgotten.

This policy was created on January 31, 2015 and last revised February 3, 2015.

Supported by

Smart Chicago Collaborative provides Chicago Cityscape's database hosting and related tech support. The organization also conducted testing with Chicagoans through the Civic User Testing Group in early 2015.

Open source

Chicago Cityscape uses many open source tools, packages, libraries, and APIs, including Mapzen Search (Pelias), Leaflet, OpenStreetMap, and several Composer packages. We have open sourced some of our own creations on GitHub.

Our geocoder – software that turns a keyword or address search into map coordinates – is based on open source data, including from OpenStreetMap. We contribute to OpenStreetMap by adding features – buildings, addresses, streets, and restaurants – to ensure that you find what you're looking for when you search Chicago Cityscape.