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Brenna Berman

The Quantified City: A Closer Look at Chicago's Array of Things

Source: Brittnay Micek, Carto

Chicago, is the latest city to crack the syntax of smart cities and hack the Internet of Things. Instead of focusing on data to quantify individual productivity and activity, the city has partnered with researchers to analyze sensor-collected data to measure the City by the Lake’s “fitness.”

Dubbed the Array of Things (AoT), a network of interactive, modular sensors, is collecting new streams of data on environment, infrastructure, and activity. This hyper-local, open data can help researchers, city officials, and software developers study and address critical city challenges, such as flood prevention, traffic safety, air quality, and availability to civic services.

Weekend Web: Chicago's 'Array of Things'

Source: NBC Chicago

NBC5's Charlie Wojciechowski talks with the City of Chicago's Chief Information Officer Brenna Berman about a bold experiment that uses sensors around the city to collect data.

Chicago gets serious about tracking air quality and traffic data

Source: Matt McFarland, CNN Money

There may be a solution to asthma perched high above a handful of Chicago intersections.

Last week, the city began installing sophisticated computers on traffic poles to track air quality, weather and road data at a block-by-block level.

The project's leaders liken the project to giving an entire city its own Fitbit (FIT), which should help it better track and address everything from public health risks to congestion on roads.

“Array” of Possibilities: Chicago’s New Wireless Sensor Networks to Create an Urban Internet of Things


IoT won’t just make your life easier; when it’s embedded in cities the same way it’s embedded in homes, cars, and offices, it also has the potential to make your life better.

That’s the hypothesis in Chicago, where a project is underway to establish wireless sensor networks capable of measuring a city’s vitals in the same way a fitness tracker measures an athlete’s.

How Chicago Got Smart About Sensors

Source: Susan Crawford, Medium Backchannel

The Array of Things will be the central nervous system of cities. Without invading your privacy.

This month, the Array of Things moved several giant steps closer to becoming a crucial general-purpose, worldwide sensor data infrastructure for researchers and policymakers. New money from the National Science Foundation is coming in, new collaborators from around the world are learning about it, and 50 devices will be installed on the streets of Chicago in early 2016, with hundreds more to be added in the years to come. Most importantly, the leaders of the initiative (the City of Chicago and the University of Chicago’s Urban Center for Computation and Data) are committed to openness and public consultation — which means the Array of Things initiative will continue to thrive.

Chicago to track an 'Array of Things' to improve livability

Source: Meredith Francis, WBEZ

Nowadays, a lot of people sport fitness trackers - wearable devices that monitor a person’s steps, heart rate, exercise habits and more. Well, the city of Chicago is hoping to expand on the idea to track the city’s fitness. The project — called The Array of Things (AoT) — will install modular sensor boxes on city street light posts that measure things like climate, air quality and noise.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Chicago, the Argonne National Laboratory, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


‘Internet of Everything’ lights the way in Chicago

Source: Brenna Berman and Wim Elfrink, Chicago Sun Times Editorial

The phrase “dumb as a lamppost” is going to fall out of favor soon, at least if the City of Chicago has anything to say about it.

The city has several new initiatives underway to upgrade lighting infrastructure. It’s powered by the next phase of the Internet, which goes beyond connecting computers to connecting people, data, process and all manner of things.


Big Data: Chicago Is Putting Sensors All Over the City [Video]

Source: Bloomberg News

The city of Chicago is betting big on big data. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has given the green light to a project to install sensors on traffic poles that collect data on air quality and weather. Now some privacy groups concerned. Bloomberg's Sam Grobart explains. (Source: Bloomberg)


Chicago's New High-Tech Lamp Posts Will Track Everything, Always

Source: Belinda Lanks, Bloomberg Business

Almost 50 years after Simon and Garfunkel sang “Hello lamp post, whatcha knowin,” the streetlights of Chicago will answer them. The city will start collecting data through Web-connected sensors installed on lamp poles this summer. In addition to foot traffic, the project will measure air quality, sound volume, heat, light intensity, and precipitation as a means to better understand the urban environment and ultimately make Chicago a safer, more pleasant place to live.

Dubbed the Array of Things, the initative will start with eight sets of sensors placed at various intersections along Michigan Avenue. Brenna Berman, the city’s commissioner of information and technology, says she hopes to add 300 in the next few years as part of a continued effort by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to push Chicago as a tech innovation hub. The boxes of electronics will be wrapped in perforated plastic shields that students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago designed to look more like sculpture than Big Brother black boxes.