Chi Hack Night – Parking Tickets and Bankruptcy

Date(s) - 08/28/18
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Hosted by
Chi Hack Night

Chi Hack Night – Parking Tickets and Bankruptcy

Chi Hack Night

August 28, 6pm

ProPublica Illinois has been reporting all year on how unpaid parking tickets have pushed tens of thousands of mostly black motorists into bankruptcy. It’s something that, by all accounts, is happening nowhere else in the country. Data helped ProPublica tell these stories – and there is still more reporting to do. In recent months ProPublica has been collaborating with Elliott Ramos from WBEZ on stories about duplicative ticketing and unequal enforcement.

Melissa Sanchez and David Eads of ProPublica Illinois will talk about the reporting and getting the data, including how they obtained an exemption to access federal bankruptcy court records and scrape information on tens of thousands of consumer bankruptcies. They will share some of the challenges they faced, and the logic behind the decisions and analyses they made. In addition to bankruptcy case data, they used more than a decade’s worth of ticketing data from the city of Chicago, American Community Survey data and license suspension data from the Illinois Secretary of State.

In advance of this talk, there is data on some 28 million parking and vehicle compliance tickets posted on ProPublcica’s web site.

The Chi Hack Night is a free, weekly event in Chicago to build, share and learn about civic tech and tools to create, support, or serve public good.

Join us every Tuesday from 6-10pm on the 8th floor of the Merchandise Mart to hear from interesting speakers, learn from each other and work on civic projects. Non-techies are very welcome!

What happens at a hack night?

Every week, we have a 10-15 minute presentation by a government agency, non-profit, company or group who’ve made use of open data or built a civic technology application. The goal of these presentations is to showcase the different uses and opportunities, as well as challenges and successes in the civic technology movement.

After the presentation, the format of the event is similar to that of a hackathon where breakout groups self-organize to work on civic apps, discuss policies and their implications, learn technical skills and network with a welcoming and diverse community at the intersection of technology and government.

But I’m not a techie!

That’s ok! We encourage non-technical folks to pair up and learn from our community’s designers and developers. We’ve seen time and time again, he best civic projects come from teams with a diverse background.

Remember, there’s much more to making a great app than just coding.


Derek Eder, Christopher Whitaker and Juan-Pablo Velez

The Chi Hack Night is organized by Derek Eder, Christopher Whitaker and (formerly) Juan-Pablo Velez. You can contact them here.

Every month, we hold an open Leadership Council Meeting to discuss new ideas and ways to make the hack night better. Anyone is welcome to join!