On July 9th, over 300 excited Chicagoans crammed into the Logan Square office of George and Sara Aye, the founders of a design agency focused on social change called Greater Good Studio. Crowds of developers, politicians, designers, and neighborhood friends mingled, wearing special stickers: “Hi, My Name Is _____. And I ♥ the CTA because _____.”

The mob was there to celebrate the launch of Designing Chicago, an unusual Kickstarter campaign that (if successful) will leverage the power of the city’s fiercely proud citizenship to design the next generation of transit app.

“Chicago is a hotbed of civic tech,” explains George, who spent seven years at Ideo before taking a job as lead designer at the Chicago Transit Authority. “We’ve got an amazing system, real-time data, and an active tech community. All we needed to do was put it all together.” The Ayes want to change the way citizens and designers engage in civic government. Designing Chicago will be a testing ground for their ideas. If funded, the duo will spend the next year leading a team of thousands as they gather data, propose ideas, and develop the groundwork for a transit app that will unite the city’s various systems of public transportation. “Since Rahm’s arrival, there’s been this hunger for everyone involved in local government,” he adds. “It’s like a switch has been flicked.” {…}