When London Mayor Sadiq Khan visited Chicago for the first time on an overseas trade mission in September, he and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had more to talk about than economics. Though Chicago-based companies invest and expand into London more than any other global city, according to London & Partners, Khan’s nonprofit business development company, the two cities also have a keen interest in the benefits and challenges of open data.
Following their meeting, Kahn and Emanuel signed the Chicago-London City Data Alliance, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing the two cities to working together on a number of data-based projects. Through the MOU, the cities agreed to develop a joint working group that will include city officials, members of the academic community, private-sector representatives and nonprofit organizations to focus on the development of a broad range of urban technologies.
“The agreement commits both cities to pursue real work based on all the great ideas generated by mayor Khan’s visit,” said Chicago CIO Brenna Berman, adding that once formed, the working group will collaborate in the following five key areas:
Both cities have existing open source projects and solutions to build on, said Berman. For the city of Chicago, that includes projects like the Open Grid Data Portal and the Underground Infrastructure Mapping project. In London, it includes projects like the Schools Atlas, the London Urban Operating Platform, the Witan City Modeling Service and the Olympic Park Smart Sustainable District project. Through the alliance, the cities will consider replicating each other’s existing successful projects, as well as build new collaborative open data projects.
The cities plan to organize publicly run data science exercises to generate solutions from public and civic volunteers. While both cities have hosted such projects before, they hope that conducting joint challenges will generate more participation and more innovative solutions.