Utilizing Chicago's open data push, Open City "has built tools that show who’s lobbying city hall, whether the city has plowed your snow-covered street and how the city’s economy is doing." For its latest project, Second City Zoning, Velez and his colleagues "set out to make make [sic] zoning—one of the most important forces shaping cities, and yet one of the most impenetrable— digestible by humans."
The site is what Velez describes as a "SimCity-flavored interactive map of Chicago’s zoning districts," that "allows residents to answer the question, 'what can I build on this property?'”
"Punch in an address to discover how a building is zoned, and see a human-readable description (written by us!) of what that actually means," he explains. "On top of the map, we’ve also distilled much of the zoning ordinance into a beginner-friendly cheat sheet, so residents can dig into the particulars of their property’s land use and density rules."
"Besides looking up a specific property, you can also use the app to explore Chicago’s zoning patterns and learn why the city’s urban landscape looks the way it does."