Everyblock, Three New Cities, and the Chicago Way

This weekend, the Chicago Tribune ran a story about Knight News Challenge winner Everyblock and its founder, Adrian Holovaty.

And yesterday, the Everyblock project (“a news feed for your block”) expanded into three new cities: Boston, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Director of Knight Journalism program Gary Kebbel gives Everyblock background:

Adrian Holovaty won a $1.1 million Knight News Challenge grant in 2007 to create a public data and aggregation site on steroids for at least 10 cities. Called EveryBlock, the sites have launched in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Charlotte. Public databases are pulled together and then made so easily accessible that all anyone has to do is put in a street address to find out what is happening on their block or the next block over.

Holovaty started this work with, which was the first major ‘mashup’ of public data (Chicago crime reports) on a Google map. The site won the Knight-Batten Award for Innovation and was the beginning of Holovaty’s efforts to help people find previously inaccessible information relevant to their lives.

The Tribune article references the Everyblock widget, a small application that has let readers associate a physical location with Tribune stories for the past month.

Also in the article, Holovaty explains how to launch a project from the Windy City:

“There’s the dot-com, Silicon Valley, blow-all-your-money-on-booze style,” says Holovaty, 27. “Then there’s the Chicago thing: Do something, do it well and be modest about it.”

Read the entire article here.

What are your thoughts on Everyblock? How would you explain a digital project launched in, say, the DC, Austin, or Vancouver Way?