Each of the five Smart Communities has its own community portal, with information posted by local residents, businesses, nonprofits and other institutions.
Search the Internet for the latest news and information about many of Chicago’s neighborhoods and it can be hard to find much at all—and what is available is likely to be a standard crime story. Yet every community has many untold positive stories, from a winning season by the high school football team to a resident who has opened a new store. To get a full picture of the five Smart Communities, visit their community portals.
A community portal is a website dedicated to a specific neighborhood, with news, a calendar of local events, a directory, photos, videos and more. Moderated by a portal manager who maintains a lively, broad mix of local content, each portal is a place for residents to both learn the latest about their community and to tell their stories to the world.
Community information, by and for the community
Community portals are different from the websites of traditional neighborhood nonprofits because they cover a wide set of topics from many points of view. It’s like a community newspaper, bulletin board and phonebook—all in one place, created by the residents themselves.
All five of the portals are built on a common software platform, providing powerful features that allow each portal to be modified for the needs of the community. Each includes:
- News that covers everything from an art gallery opening to homeowner tax credits, including first-person opinion, slideshows, videos and more.
- Directories that give businesses, social service agencies, schools and other institutions an online presence. A listing can include photos, video, a map, hours of operation, a menu—anything to help a reader learn more.
- Events and listings on a calendar of what’s going on in the community.
- Other information that the local community has deemed important—job listings, video profiles, a virtual neighborhood tour, news from the alderman’s office, technology tips, etc.
News you can use
The Pilsen Portal opened in the summer of 2009, and the Humboldt Park Portal launched a year later. The three partner communities in the Southwest Smart Communities Initiative—Auburn Gresham, Chicago Lawn and Englewood—launched their portals in the Fall of 2010, and those three sites are linked together to help build a stronger Southwest Side.
The portals are open for submissions from anyone, and by becoming a member, contributors are able to do even more, including designing and editing their entry. Trainings for getting the most from the portals are available in each of the Smart Communities.
For more information
To learn more about community portals, contact LISC/Chicago. To learn more about one of the neighborhood's portals, contact the community's portal manager.