Category Archives: Democracy

“TIF Atlas” Now On Sale!

Now you can own the data that has been driving the TIF Illumination Project all over the city for the past 18 months! Download your very own “TIF Atlas of Chicago Wards” at the TIF Data Store.

We’re using the new ward maps and you’ll see the shapes and names of all the TIF districts as well as the projects funded by TIFs IN EACH WARD. The projects are numbered and all you have to do is look to the appendix in the back of the Atlas to see the name, address, developer and amount of TIF dollars that went to that project. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! We also plot on each ward map all the schools that were CLOSED or cut in 2013. In the back we list the closed schools and list all the cuts that we know of for each public school. More info: tom@civiclab.us.

TIFs of the 1st Ward
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Standing Room Only @ 11th Ward TIF Illumination

Tom at 11th Ward forumThe TIF Illumination Project did our 26th public meeting on December 4, 2014 when we lit up the TIFs of the 11th ward at the First Trinity Lutheran Church on 31st Street. I’m constantly amazed and thrilled by the turn out and civic energy present at these meetings. This one was partially sponsored by Friends of Maureen Sullivan, who is running for 11th ward alderman.

You can preview the presentation here. You can download the full presentation at the TIF Data Store. Please help usĀ  produce a series of TIF training videos that will be placed online for free viewing – contribute to our first crowdfunding campaign!

If you would like more information on TIF training, research and scheduling an Illumination for YOUR ward, please email tom@civiclab.us.

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Interview Reveals (mostly) All

Jim Jacoby of the American Design and Master-Craft Initiative and Jim Cohen of BeSparked interviewed me in July for this series of master designer podcasts. What, you may ask, do I have to do with design? Ah ha! You’ll just have to listen to this wide-ranging 47 minute interview where I talk about my background in the arts and the connections between design, space and civic engagement. If you do listen – please comment at the bottom of the podcast web page.

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Chicago Reader Cites Work of TIF Project

Reader_pix-8-27-14 Thanks to tireless TIF reporter Ben Joravsky of The Chicago Reader for this wonderful piece. He connects the dots from the supposed state of Chicago’s finances to the plight of our public schools and the tens of millions, nay, hundreds of millions of property tax dollars, we shower on major corporations.

None of this work would’ve been possible without the hundreds of hours contributed by our all volunteer team of coders, map makers, graphic designers, researchers and community organizers who – collectively – have now Illuminated 127 TIFs across 29 wards. The full record of these forums are here. If you want YOUR ward Illuminated, contact us at tom@civiclab.us.

When we Illuminate a ward we tell you: (1) overview of how TIFs work in Chicago, (2) how many TIFs in the ward, (3) best estimate of how much $ those TIFs took from your ward, (4) how much money left in TIF accounts FROM your ward, (5) who got paid from TIFs in your ward. We even provide a nifty graphic map that lays all this out in a super clear manner. No one else can tell you all this!

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