CivicLab Profiled @ One Year

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From Progress Illinois: “July marks one year since the CivicLab, a non-profit organization, opened its “democracy design studio” in the West Loop of Chicago.

Looking ahead, one of the CivicLab’s co-founders says big plans are in the pipeline for year two of the co-working space, which is dedicated to collaboration, education and innovation for social change and civic engagement.

Seven organizations focused on issues such as housing justice, voter registration and health care are currently working out of the CivicLab’s storefront, located at 114 N. Aberdeen St.

Other activists, designers, educators and tech experts also gather and do research at the space, which is housed in a rehabbed 1890s firehouse that sits across the street from Harpo Studios, where “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was previously filmed.

In addition to offering a place where people can collaborate, the CivicLab hosts educational workshops and is behind the volunteer-based TIF Illumination Project, which is working to promote transparency around Chicago’s controversial tax increment financing (TIF) program.

The TIF Illumination Project, which launched in February of 2013, has traveled to 27 Chicago wards, providing residents with a snapshot of what the city’s economic development program is — or isn’t — doing for their communities. Check out Progress Illinois’ coverage of the Chicago TIF data revealed by the CivicLab here.” [download PDF of article ]

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