After two years CivicLab must close its doors on June 30, 2015. We’d love to hear from you if you used the Lab or found what we did here useful. Please comment at our Facebook page.
Michael Workman wrote…
“Among all the different types of maker spaces throughout the city, there’s really not another quite like the CivicLab in the city’s West Loop neighborhood. Operated by Tom Tresser and Benjamin Sugar, the space is a gathering place and laboratory for what Tresser describes as “civic science,” the enthusiasm in his voice rising as he seizes on a topic he is clearly passionate about, “we make Democracy here.” As a longtime public defender in the city, he is perhaps most well known for heading up the No Games Chicago initiative that opposed former Mayor Daley’s efforts to bring the Olympics to the city. On the day I visit, almost directly inside the door, I see familiar faces from my late-nineties activist days when I was living in the Dog Patch, including the engaging writer, social theorist and activist, Peter Zelchenko, still at it after all these years. Their Aberdeen office is an impressive split-level workspace with divided cubicle walls in the front and a conference room with large wipeboards on the second level. A row of interns from the U of C and the Peoples’ Institute for Housing Justice are lined up at a table along one wall, tapping away diligently on laptops.” Read the full profile…
I’m Evie Turner, an Intern at The CivicLab and a fellow Millennial. I’ve read current research (2001-2015) on how Millennials consume news, how Millennials are voting, or rather how they’re not, and what to do about it.
- Millennials reported that a major news source for them is Facebook (NeimanLab). Many companies have taken note of this and have moved to social media structured platforms (RedCut).
- Many people would say that we don’t pay attention to the news but 85% of Millennials reported that the news is at least minimally important to them (NeimanLab).
- Of the people who are voting, the group that votes least are Millennials (ETS).
- Among the Millennials, the ones that vote are more likely to be college educated than the ones that do not (C.I.R.C.L.E.). In the US only 14% of people aged 18-24 and 43% of people aged 25-34 have either an associates, bachelors, or advanced degree. (Demos)
- Young people choose not to vote due to the lack of confidence in their government; they feel even if they vote they cannot make important change (ETS).
- Millennials in the US reported feeling that their civic engagement would not be welcomed due to their lack of expertise and money. (C.I.R.C.L.E.).
So, this means there needs to be some changes made. Schools need to put a greater emphasis on civic engagement at a young age and provide examples of ways that voting has positively changed society. In order for us to gain confidence in our government, our elected need to do more to make us feel like were being heard. A small gesture will go a long way in increasing civic engagement. In regards to consuming the news, many sources already have Facebook pages that are regularly updated. I think this is the best way for mainstream news outlets to reach me and my fellow Millennials.
We are super proud of producing our first online TIF training video, “TIF 101”! You can watch the 20 minute video right here:
Thanks to the 80 people who contributed to this project.
We are now asking everyone to join our SECOND crowdfunding campaign so we can produce the next video in our projected series of five videos. The next video is “The TIF Hall of Shame” and will focus on the abuses and contradictions in Chicago’s massive TIF program. You won’t want to miss this!
We’re using the new ward maps and you’ll see the shapes and names of all the TIF districts as well as the projects funded by TIFs IN EACH WARD. The projects are numbered and all you have to do is look to the appendix in the back of the Atlas to see the name, address, developer and amount of TIF dollars that went to that project. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! We also plot on each ward map all the schools that were CLOSED or cut in 2013. In the back we list the closed schools and list all the cuts that we know of for each public school. More info: [email protected].
Check out Tom Tresser’s article in the Fall 2014 issue of The Journal of School Business Management on “Tax Increment Financing in Illinois.” This piece was aimed at all the Chief Financial Officers of school districts across Illinois and America!
It was another full house for a TIF town meeting, or Illumination, as we fondly call these community gatherings. We lit up the TIFs of the 11th ward.
About 60 people packed the community room at the First Trinity Lutheran Church on 31st Street. You can see the Twitter comments if you search for #11taxtricks. The event was partially sponsored by Friends of Maureen Sullivan, who is running for alderman. Read coverage in Progress Illinois and DNAinfo Chicago.
Here’s what one attendee, Ve Castillo, posted online: “Thank you Thomas Tresser (CivicLab) and Daniel Eugene Pugh-Barnett for the eye-opening experience regarding TIFs in the 11th Ward. Unbelievable and still in awe.”
You can see part of the presentation:
To download the entire deck, including the particulars of the 11th ward, visit the TIF Data Store.
To find out more about our TIF training, research and community meetings email us at [email protected]