Community planning meets technology and the web at Metropolitan Planning Council discussion


Ted Nguyen who works for the Orange County Transportation Authority, but was representing himself, said, “My version of E=MC2 is ‘Everybody is a media company times 2.” Photos by Ryan Griffin-Stegink. 

The Metropolitan Planning Council hosted a roundtable presentation and discussion on technology’s role in community planning. You can watch the video recording below. The speakers represented a diverse range of occupations:

  • Frank Hebbert, director of Civic Works at OpenPlans, a technology urban planning non-profit based in New York City
  • Ted Nguyen, manager of public communications at Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA)
  • Ben Fried, editor in chief of Streetsblog, which is part of OpenPlans
  • Thomas Coleman, mobile app developer for Parsons Brinckerhoff, Chicago office

John recorded some key quotes from the speakers:

Frank: “It’s tempting to say that [online] tools make it easier to do community planning, but they don’t make it trivial. They make it easier to add your voice and become more deeply engaged.” Continue reading Community planning meets technology and the web at Metropolitan Planning Council discussion

Contributing time, talent, and ideas to Grid Chicago


Drew Baker is one of over 60 contributors to our photo pool on Flickr. 

We appreciate all of our readers. We appreciate that our readership has grown month after month. Some readers have asked how they can contribute to Grid Chicago. There are many ways!

Social Networking

The easiest way to contribute is to share our articles with your friends and followers on the various social network sites we have. We post on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google Plus. We’re trying to use these platforms for more than just linking to articles on Grid Chicago. You’ll see links to other stories and websites we find interesting.  Continue reading Contributing time, talent, and ideas to Grid Chicago

CTA late to social media but performing like a pro


Logan Square, looking northwest, taken October 11, 1968, during construction that moved the Northwest L underground. It previously terminated at Kedzie and Logan Boulevard.

The Chicago Transit Authority didn’t launch their Twitter account and page on Facebook until November 1 this year, but as of this writing has 5,008 followers on Twitter, and 4,972 likes on Facebook. I wrote the day after launch that there was “latent demand” for these methods of communication, and that CTA provides myriad other tools for getting information. Continue reading CTA late to social media but performing like a pro

Latent demand for CTA to be on Twitter, and CTA’s other tools


The Chicago Transit Authority tweeted for the first time yesterday morning at 10:59 AM. They said, “This is an official announcement from CTA: Hello”. They had 1 follower at the time of the tweet (it was me). 25 minutes later they had 49 new followers.

7 hours and 31 minutes later (I checked at random times), they had 1,338 followers. That’s fast.

36 hours later, they have 1,928 followers.

They also launched a page on Facebook and an updates service delivered via email or SMS (text messaging). We’re glad CTA is now on social media (it took awhile). But these are just a few tools out of many that the CTA has for its customers to get information. Let me list them all for you:

Read my story about the state of Chicago transit trackers. Also, you can follow Grid Chicago on Facebook and Twitter, or via email updates.