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Cityscape receives grant to launch a “Data Equity Cohort”

Published on Jun. 17, 2021 by Steven Vance

Updated on Jun. 23, 2021

This is an announcement about a grant-supported program we are launching.

Chicago Cityscape is a real estate information platform designed to spark and inspire more equitable development in overlooked and underinvested neighborhoods by organizing and aggregating property data, policy information, and market insights into one platform — equalizing access to information for underrepresented and resourced property professional and nonprofit organizations.

Chicago-based organizations and individuals who work to build housing and promote economic and neighborhood development should have equal access to property data, policy information, and market insights to shape a more equity-minded built environment.

From Cityscape’s perspective, this cohort includes emerging, less experienced, and mission-oriented real estate developers (especially people of color who, as a group, receive less funding and investment for their projects); non-profit organizations such as Chambers of Commerce, Special Service Areas (SSA), Community Development Corporations (CDC); housing development & advocacy organizations; and nascent land ownership models like cooperatives and land trusts.

Chicago Cityscape recently received a capacity building grant from Searle Funds through the Chicago Community Trust. With these funds we will work alongside the “focus” organizations and individuals mentioned above to:

  • We will coach focus organizations and individuals on how to leverage our current tools on the Cityscape platform — for free — in exchange for their feedback.,
  • We’re going to learn from them what needs to be added, adjusted, and improved on our platform to co-design solutions that help meet their missions.
  • We’re going to continue to reduce barriers to access data and technology in the community development process.

Steven and Casey will present at Chi Hack Night (on Zoom) on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, about new data and tools on Chicago Cityscape that have been developed to “spark and inspire more equitable development” as well as our plans for this grant-funded program.

Watch the video recording on YouTube.

Here’s how we want you to participate in this program:

  • If you identify as the leader of one of the types of focus organizations listed above, or are an individual that fits one of the descriptions, say hi to [email protected]
  • If you know of an organization or person you think should join our program, email your suggestion to [email protected]
  • If you want to know more about Chicago Cityscape and this program immediately, schedule a discovery & demonstration session with Casey Smagala. Afterward, you may be invited to participate in our program.

Additionally, we will be hiring a designer with community engagement experience to help us develop our interview structure and synthesize feedback to help develop new products. The job notice will be posted on our website and social media in June or July.


Cityscape receives grant to launch a “Data Equity Cohort” was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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