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Civic Tech Toronto hacknight: Nov 24

Nineteenth hacknight – 10 participants.

No presenter this week.

Breakout groups:

  • Open Cabinet; launch planning – Alex
  • Plain language project; research and scoping – Matthew
  • Planning application scraper; need help from a planner – Gabe

2 thoughts on “Civic Tech Toronto hacknight: Nov 24”

  1. Had great discussion & work sesh tonight on the Plain Language project, thanks to Irene and Elena.

    We researched standards and ways of measuring plain language, various tactics we could use in the project, and discussed ways in which information gaps can be very harmful to people (for example, understanding legislation while applying for permanent residency).

    We discussed how we should assess harm of non-readable information, and how to validate ideas with users & service delivery agencies.

    Next steps:
    – Answer the questions identified in the Google Doc
    – Identify areas of highest need
    – Develop menu of possible approaches

  2. Group: Toronto planning application scraper
    (Gabe and Josh)

    Project complete!

    – switched from INSERT to REPLACE INTO so we don’t get duplicate records
    – make some tweaks to the schema
    – set up a cronjob
    – wrote a script to export the whole table to csv, upon request
    – (and a few other things?)

    The project as we originally scoped it is done. Things that we could do next:
    – Explore the data with people who have a better understanding of planning applications
    – Consider the use cases for this data; focusing in particular on responsibly representing what this data means
    – Adapting it to, as suggested by James (

    Here’s the repo:

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