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.

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 - Steven is an urban planner who creates apps and maps about active transportation modes and land use patterns in Chicago. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Urban Planning and Public Administration (CUPPA), worked at the Chicago Department of Transportation, Active Transportation Alliance, and Streetsblog Chicago.

photo of Samantha Kearney

Samantha Kearney

Advisory Board - Samantha is a Community Services Coordinator at the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee who analyzes data for grants and Choice Neighborhoods reports, and generally assists the organization to provide socially and environmentally sustainable housing in the Cream City. Samantha is an urban planner who graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Urban Planning and Public Administration, and has worked in communications at Congress for New Urbanism and UIC's Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy. Samantha was Chicago Cityscape's first staff member, creating original maps using our data, and writing analysis for our newsletter.

Personal website

photo of Daniel Ronan

Daniel Ronan

Advisory Board - Daniel is the Manager of Public Engagement at the National Public Housing Museum, set to open in Chicago's Little Italy in 2018 in the last building of the former Jane Addams Homes. Daniel also worked with the Latina/o community in his native Portland, Oregon in a community-led planning process to build the Portland Mercado, a micro-business incubator for Latina/o culinary entrepreneurs. Daniel received his bachelors of arts in Planning, Public Policy, and Management from the University of Oregon and has a certification in historic real estate finance.

Personal website

photo of Elle Ramel

Elle Ramel

Advisory Board - Elle Ramel is an urban planner and passionate about helping the City of Chicago and the region. She is currently the Chief of Staff at City Digital and prior to that worked in digital urban planning software at PositivEnergy Practice and the Chicago Mayor's Office in Economic Development.

LinkedIn

photo of Michael Anguiano

Michael Anguiano

Advisory Board - Mike Anguiano is a Co-Founder and Principal at Monarch Realty Partners, a leading commercial real estate brokerage firm. Prior to his commercial real estate career, Mike was a technologist and helped companies organize, sort, and understand massive amounts of internal, proprietary data. He uses his background in technology, real estate analysis, and brokerage to help real estate investors identify and act on market opportunities. Mike is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and has his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University.


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.

Products

Neighbor

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.

Pro

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.

API

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 use a Google Analytics tracking cookie that counts website usage and gathers information about users. You can opt out.

We don't store your location when you use any of the GPS or "locate me" buttons on the site (these are on the homepage and on the Building Permits page). 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.

When you draw a Personal Place map, you may be revealing information about yourself or a project you're working on. If you have sensitive information in this map, set the map to be private so that only you, the person who created the map, can see it. The administrators of Chicago Cityscape are able to view Personal Place maps with your permission.

Last revised July 18, 2017.

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, CitySDK for Census data, and several Composer packages, zoning district colors from Second City Zoning. We have open sourced some of our own creations on GitHub.

We use map tiles from OpenStreetMap, Stamen, Carto, and Mapbox.

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.