THE MAGAZINE

Chicago’s Big Security Shoulders

By Teresa Anderson

Another new program is WindyGrid. Launched in May 2012, that system is designed to enhance situational awareness by gathering all spatially enabled data sources, from tweets to surveillance cameras to building permit violations to weather information. The program, which gathers data from all city departments, is designed to identify when several different incidents will collide to create a problem, such as potential crowd management issues.

Also in the works is a predictive policing program. The police began developing the program in January 2013 under a three-year, $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Justice.

That program will use all of the currently collected data and merge it with potentially related information to predict crime. Information such as jail release dates and school holidays will be included. “The idea is to include any variable, including weather, seasonality, time of day, day of week, to identify what variables can inform crime conditions,” says Lewin. “For example, requests for city services, such as for a broken street light, might have predictive capabilities.”

Museum of Science and Industry

Chicago’s museum of science and Industry was always destined for great things. It was originally constructed as the Palace of Fine Arts for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The building was part of the famed “White City,” so named because of the pale stucco exteriors and the widespread use of electric lights, which allowed patrons to visit at night. Because it was built of stronger stuff than the other buildings, it survived time and neglect.

In 1926, determined to establish a science museum in Chicago, Julius Rosenwald, chairman of Sears and Roebuck, put up $3 million to restore the building to its former glory. After a $5 million bond was issued to help with the restoration, the museum opened its doors in 1933. As the museum moves into the 21st century, it brings an attitude of civic pride and a commitment to cooperation between public and private organizations.

 

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