by Soledad Hernandez & Pinar Dursun


The millions of tons of waste disposed of into our environment every year. As urban growth continues to take hold in many cities, our levels of all types of waste, combined with the problems created when it comes to disposing of them, are constantly increasing. In front of this situation, an efficient management waste system can solve a basic problem in the cities.

Chicago generates 7,299,174 tons of waste every year and residents recycle just more than 200,000 tons of materials per year.

Chicago has two recycling systems: Blue Cart and Drop-off

The goals

The aim of this project is to analysis how is the recycling system en Chicago

Examining the effectiveness of Chicago Recycling System.

How the recycling system of Chicago can be improved?

Recycling amount distribution by location.

Correlation between recycling amount and demographical information.


After preparing the spreadsheets of the data and uploading them in iituim server database via PostgreSQL software as tables, shape files were imported to QGIS software where the contacts between the amounts and locations were made. Thus, equations for analysis were created.



22 wards have neither drop-off center nor blue cart system. 1,186,364 people living in this wards without any recycling service.

It is obvious that blue cart system is more efficient than drop-off centers due to its easiness. Travelling miles to throw the recyclables into the drop-off center instead of putting them into the blue cart in front of their house is a dissuasive effect for the people who do not live in blue cart covered neighborhoods.

It also seems like the people living in the north neighborhoods are more eager to recycle. Northwards can be proposed for the location of blue cart area future expansion.

For complete presentation with all the maps: RECYCLING 5.4.12


Chicago Urban Migration-Wigdan Al-Guneid,Sakshi Aggarwal


Obtain the relationship between the quality of neighborhood and the migrations of people of people to them. Through the analysis of attributes such as health care, education, transportation accessibility, and crime rate, we were able to indicate the popularity of a neighborhood and wither some attributes are more important than others in ranking the value of a property. Our analysis will be focusing on the relationship between housing value in 6 main neighborhoods from different location of Chicago and amount of people who relocated from or to them.

The neighborhoods chosen are:

-China Town (District 31)

-Hyde Park (District 41)

-Lincoln Park (District 7)

-Logan Square (District 22)

-Garfield Ridge (District 56)

1- The data available with us should be translated into maps that illustrate the quality score for each of the chosen neighborhoods.

2- The analysis of the data should be driven from maps that are done using the CSV files, and shape files downloaded from Chicago website.

Using the Software QGIS, PG Admin will help in driving maps with analysis of Chicago neighborhoods.

In order to understand the pattern of migrations within the neighborhood’s of Chicago, the study had to include a method of scoring the quality of a neighborhood. A quality would be driven from series of calculations and equations that will be translated later into queries in PQ Admin II then into maps.


School Equation

School safety score+ family involvement score+ Parent engagement score+

College eligibility+ college enrollment

______________________________________             = School Score


Hospital Equation

Accessibility of hospitals+ number of hospitals

______________________________________= Hospital Score


Accessibility Equation

School safety score+ family involvement score+ Parent engagement score+

College eligibility+ college enrollment

___________________________________________________________= Accessibility Score


Neighborhood score Equation

Home value index +School Score +Hospital Score + Accessibility Score +

___________________________________________________________= Quality of




After   checking the accuracy of the data in the tables that are done with POST ADMIN II, queries were made to connect the tables we have to the QGIS .This step is important in order to match the data to the shape file of the neighborhoods of Chicago city.

After making the maps, analytic comparison driven from the visual information in the maps, and also from the value of the quality averages driven from the neighborhood’s score equations.


The quality scores showed that the higher quality neighborhoods were Lincoln Park, followed by Logan Square, Garfield Ridge, Hyde Park, China Town, and Avalon Park.

This conclusion however, matched the Real Estate value of Lincoln Park and Logan Square, and Avalon Park only. Hyde Park and China Town had different real-estate values that didn’t correlate necessarily to the neighborhood quality.

This led us to a conclusion that there are other reasons such as ethnic backgrounds of populations living there. China Town is a neighborhood that is heavily populated with Asian communities, Same as Hyde Park that is also heavily populated with African Americans.

The study was only focusing on amenities that a neighborhood would offer and if they would affect the decision of selecting a neighborhood or not.

Urban – to – Urban Migration through Recession !!!

There’s obviously a lot of talk about the rural-to-urban shift that’s underway in countries all over the world. The majority of people now live in urban areas, and that’s not expected to change. But many countries have had urban majorities for decades. The United States, for example, has an urban population near 80 percent. So while there’s certainly some rural-to-urban migration happening, most of the movement in the U.S. is urban-to-urban.


Case Study – Opening Cities’ Data

data.cityofchicago.org and other initiatives

The city of Chicago Data Portal has been live since February 2010. It’s official goal is to promote access to government data and encourage the development of tools that use that data to build ‘creative’ tools.

So far, it has provided 717 items on its website, including:

  • 197 datasets
  • 4 external datasets (CTA)
  • 133 files and documents (GIS; shapefiles; kml)
  • 338 filtered views
  • 19 charts
  • 27 maps
Those are updated at different rates: yearly, quarterly, nightly, real-time (bus and train trackers). They can be exported into the following formats: CSV; JSON; PDF; RDF; RSS; XLS; XLSX; XML. Data can also be harnessed using the Socrata Open Data API (SODA).
The website also features ways of visualizing data, such as maps and charts, that are intended to be user friendly. However, there are some issues with the data and the way it’s organized that hinder the initiative’s goal of reaching wider audiences. First, with so much data and no hierarchy, it’s difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Second, there is little analysis or interpretation such as the last two visualization examples; most of the information is just raw data.
Other cities such as New York and Seattle also have their own data portals. These were all created in the wake of the federal government’s Data.gov portal, launched in May 2009 as part of the Obama administration’s Open Government Initiative. It’s principles are: transparency promotes accountability; participation allows people to contribute ideas; and collaboration encourages cooperation within government and with industry.
These data portals are all based on the Socrata Social Data Platform. This allows for governmental agencies to link data from their networks to Data.gov in real-time; to integrate to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook (‘liking’, sharing or commenting); to map data both on Bing and Google Maps; to create visualization such as charts, graphs and maps; and allows for third-party apps, using Socrata’s API. (check the comments on this newsfor some of Socrata’s intentions and goals while working for the government)
While some apps have been developed using data from the City of Chicago portal, most of them consist mainly of more friendly ways of displaying that data, e.g., Clear Streets, and app that allows you to see when snow was cleared and streets salted, and Chicago Lobbyists, which allows you to see which lobbyists have received more money and from whom.
However, I am more interested in apps that allow for user input to contribute to planning and urban policy issues. One good example is Trail Blaze Chicago, an app for Android that allows bikers to record their daily trips, through their phone’s GPS. Using this information, planners could be better informed of where bike lanes are most needed, and build them accordingly.