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Civic Tech Toronto Hacknight: Dec 8

Twenty-first hacknight – 26 participants.

Presenter: Adriana Ieraci, Get Your Bot On

Breakout groups:

  • Ecologos website redesign – Hanifa
  • Plain Language project – Matthew
  • Refugees Welcome – Medina
  • Planning applications – Gabe
  • How to file an FOI request – Gabriel
  • Open Cabinet – Alex

2 thoughts on “Civic Tech Toronto Hacknight: Dec 8”

  1. Planning application scraper group
    Josh, Gabe, Leon, Joey, Hanifa

    – Gabe gave an update on the discussion from last week
    – Known limitations of the current system:
    — We don’t keep old versions of records
    — We don’t delete records which are removed
    – Q: What’s our new goal?
    – Ideas for an app:
    — Connecting the City data with Urbantoronto forums
    — Contextualizing City and Urbantoronto information by helping to explain the process
    — Community mapping: better, more user-friendly maps
    — Community commenting
    — Advocacy for more planning data to be released (full data about development projects)
    — Linking records to staff reports, council minutes/agendas, community council minutes/agendas
    – Leon: It’d be great to talk to some people who are *super* familiar with the process
    – Joey: Surely there’s some project under way internally to modernize their systems. It’d be interesting to know what.
    – Joey: There are documents available which help explain the development/approvals process.
    – Gabe: We might be able to get time with Daniel Fusca.
    – Stuff from elsewhere: Code For Australia project, @permitbot,,

    What should we do next:
    – Josh: interested in going back and working on making those changes to keep track of changes to the data
    — getting it to the point where people can find something that they might not have found otherwise
    – Hanifa: learning more about the planning process, and what’s in the data
    – Leon: in the new year interested in the geolocation notification stuff, the cityscape-ish stuff, and in the meantime learn more about the planning process and the data
    – Joey: next step should be problem scoping
    — also: this is awesome!
    – Gabe: connecting all the pieces of data, including some kind of process visualization/education piece, and building an MVP
    — Hanifa: road metaphor (NYC budget process)
    – Joey: nothing galvanizes government like people pointing out — in detail — how they’re doing a bad job
    – Tim: Make sure that the scraper is grabbing all the associated applications. For example, 501 Yonge.

  2. #RefugeesWelcomeTO

    – Mapping the refugee experience:
    – arrival in Canada
    – sponsor / organization takes them in (temporary housing)
    – they need clothing / food / toys for kids / language training / translation / job training
    – they search for more permanent housing

    – We don’t want to reproduce efforts; how might we create a central portal that folks to which folks can easily contribute?

    – Many of the resources out there don’t capture the grassroots efforts going on: how do we aggregate all the existing resources (our typeform to gather this information can be found here:

    – Neighbourhoods; could we curate some neighbourhood guides that help people get around where they are

    – Volunteer database: we often get the question *I can do ‘x.’ How can I help?* a volunteer network, complete with food / clothing donation drop off points (by neighbourhood) would be awesome and helpful.

    ​Existing resources:

    WeHost (Airbnb for Refugees)
    OCASI’s Welcome Ontario:

    Next Steps:
    @shabs will reach out to Jim Estill
    @riverdaletreeguy will attend the CSI meeting and share the output with us
    @derakhshan will reach out to some of her partners in the community
    @medina will reach out to COSTI
    @all will help to circulate and populate the typeform (

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