Taking an Assets-based Approach to Designing Technology with Resource-Constrained Communities

Date(s) - 07/17/18
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Hosted by
Chi Hack Night

Chi Hack Night – Taking an Assets-based Approach to Designing Technology with Resource-Constrained Communities

Chi Hack Night

Neighborhoods play a critical role in the social and economic outcome of their residents. Particularly for resource-constrained neighborhoods that face issues such as poverty, unemployment, crime, lack of educational opportunities, and inadequate housing, it is essential to identify and address issues that contribute to decline as evidenced by a lack of public revitalization efforts, local resources, and private investments.

As tech designers, it is common to approach work in resource-constrained communities with a deficit view, leading to simplistic and stigmatizing descriptions of these communities that often minimize or ignore institutional infrastructures that breed inequity.

Sheena Erete, Assistant Professor in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University will discuss how she designs with residents in resourced- constrained communities by focusing on their assets, specifically the human, environmental, social, and economic capital that can be leveraged in design. In her talk, she will discuss how we can identify and leverage local assets in resourced-constrained communities when designing technologies, practices, and policies.

July 17, 6pm

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!