Open Gov Hack Night

Chicago's weekly event to build, share, and learn about civic tech.

Dec 16: A Jolly Open Hack Session

Announcement: We’re moving to Braintree!
Starting on January 13, 2015 the Open Gov Hack Night will be hosted at the Braintree office on the 8th floor of the Merchandise mart.

Come join a group of passionate folks working at the intersection of open government, cities, and technology. This is an evening of civic tech hacking, learning, and hanging.

The Open Gov Hack Night, organized by civic tech group Open City, is for those who want to:

  • get work done on civic projects
  • start a new project, or find one to join (non-coders very welcome!)
  • bounce ideas and get help from tech and gov experts
  • learn about open data, smart cities, and open government

There's always food, too!

This video from The Grid on Gaper's Block will give you a sense of what to expect.


6:00 pm
Eating and socializing
6:15 pm
Welcome, introductions
6:30 pm
6:40 pm
Weekly presentation
7:15 pm
Highlight current civic tech projects
7:30 pm
Break into groups and hack

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. Often times, the best civic projects come from teams with a diverse background.

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

Open Gov Hack Night

6pm every Tuesday
1871 (in the IMSA room)
222 W Merchandise Mart Plz (12th floor)

Starting Jan 13, 2015
6pm every Tuesday
222 W Merchandise Mart Plz (8th floor)

Past events RSVP »

Subscribe to event updates

Every week, we send out an email and update this site to preview the next hack night.

Email list RSS feed

Join the discussion

Between hack nights, we use the internets for coordinating and collaborating on civic technology projects in Chicago.

Our primary mode of online communication is the chihacknight Google Group.

On Twitter, we use the #chihacknight hashtag

On IRC, we use the #chihacknight channel on

Breakout groups

Breakout group Facilitator(s) Description Mailing list
Orientation / Civic Hacking 101 Christopher Whitaker New to civic hacking? Don't even know what that means? Every week, Christopher leads quick workshop to get you up to speed. Or you can watch it online. chihacknight
Code Clinic René M. Paccha, Demond Drummer, Karl Fogel You bring the problems, we'll bring the experienced coders willing to take a look. Code Clinic is a group for coders — especially new coders, but open to anyone — to get a second pair of eyes on their work, debugging tips, architecture feedback, etc. chihacknight
Working with Data 101 Matt Gee, James Salvatore Every week, you bring a problem or a question and we'll work through the data resources, methods, and tools that you can use to solve it. chihacknight
Transportation Steven Vance Sub-topics include public transit, bicycling and urban planning. chihacknight
Education Josh Kalov and Forest Gregg This group is focuses mainly on Chicago Public Schools. cps-school-admissions
Environment Scott Beslow Sub-topics include recycling, water and air quality. chihacknight
Social Service Delivery Rose Afriyie The goal of the group is to develop tools to improve the delivery of social services provided by the City of Chicago. chihacknight
Modelling Pension Reform in Illinois Denis Roarty and Ben Galewsky Explore ways to use data and models to help pensioners and tax payers understand how reform proposals will impact them and each other. modelling-pension-reform-in-illinois

Want to start your own topic? Mention it at the next hack night and we’ll get you set up! Please note that becoming a facilitator will require committing to coming to hack nights on a regular basis and/or finding a backup to come when you can’t.


The Open Gov Hack Night is organized by Open City, documented by the Smart Chicago Collaborative, and hosted at 1871.


Our awesome sponsors provide food every week. Contact us if your civic organization would like to be a sponsor.

Bring the hack night to your city

Hack nights anchor and grow volunteer civic hacking communities while avoiding 'hackathon fatigue'. To learn how to organize one in your city, see the Code for America blog.

Friends have forked the hack night in many cities:

Leadership & contact

The Open Gov Hack Night is run by Open City organized and run by Derek Eder, Juan-Pablo Velez and Christopher Whitaker.

Got questions about the event or have a project to present? Email us.