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$23,284 pledged of $125,000 goal
$23,284 pledged of $125,000 goal

Recent updates

Join us at

A big thank you to each of our 377 backers! Though we haven't met our Kickstarter goal, the project will go on, and we still want your participation. If you haven't already, click over to and sign up to get involved and stay in touch!

Greater Good Studio
George Aye & Sara Cantor Aye

Important: Good news and bad news


We have good news and bad news. We'll give you the bad news first:

Barring any miracles, we are not going to make our Kickstarter goal!

But you knew that. You knew the goal was ambitious. And we knew, almost from the moment we launched, that our concept was not ready for a mainstream audience. We were selling a process, not a product.

But, ready for the good news?

We're still doing the project! And we still want your help. Rather than asking Kickstarter for both money AND participation, we've decided to decouple those two things. First comes participation, and that's still from you. Then, once we have a concrete vision for our app's features and user interface, we'll find the money. We're confident in our ability to do so, after countless conversations this past month with investors, nonprofits, foundations, government agencies, designers, politicians and developers. (Seriously, we've taken our show on the road and learned a TON).

So: here's what to do. Click over to and sign up! We'll keep you posted as the project continues, and if you still want to take part, you'll get many chances to do so over the next few months. We still want a huge team of engaged citizens as our field agents, and we hope you're ready to enjoy our research and design assignment videos and the community we create. Really. We want to hear from you.

Kickstarter has been quite the journey. Thank you for believing in us before anyone else. This is not the end, it's a new beginning.

Greater Good Studio
George Aye & Sara Cantor Aye

What a week!

Hey project backers,

What a week! The project hit national press all at once, with three simultaneous stories in Fast Company's Co.Design, The Daily Good and Core77. Which basically means that if you follow business, social impact or design, you heard about Designing Chicago! We hope you felt as proud as we did to be a part of something so newsworthy.

That said, we still have a long way to go to reach our Kickstarter goal. We've been working the campaign trail, with meetings and phone calls every day with individuals, local businesses, corporations, design firms, foundations, nonprofits, developers, investors and government agencies. Seriously, a lot of people are excited about this project! Importantly, we want you to know that this project will happen, one way or another, and that we want you involved no matter how we get there.

In the meantime, if you know someone who you think might dig a new mobile app for navigating our city, will you reach out to them tomorrow with a quick personal note? If every one of you wrote something like "Hey, I backed this project and I thought you might want to too!" to one friend, it would go a long way towards reaching our goal.

Thank you for your awesomeness, and stay tuned!

Greater Good Studio

Thank you for being awesome


Backers like you are breaking new ground in all sorts of ways. Thank you for your trust in us, and for your unwavering faith in Chicago. It's been a week since launch and over 150 people have signed on board to be part of something bigger than just an app. You're showing us that you not only want things to be better, you're willing to get involved and make the changes yourselves. It's humbling.

We actually had the huge honor of speaking with a writer from Fast Company's Co.Design today, and you'll be proud to hear that she said Chicago was perhaps the only US city who could pull this off! Needless to say, we are very excited about our project's potential. See our updated press here, and a compelling new video blog with Massimo Vignelli here.

During this week, we've heard a ton of great feedback from people from a wide range of communities, including tech, design, civic engagement and transportation advocacy. We also had some very pointed questions about the app's future features, so we quickly jumped on the chance to answer them by reshooting a portion of our campaign video. The version you now see has a quick "brainstorm" on the app and some of the potential features we could include, so check it out and share!

But don't worry, we're not taking all the fun out of the project—we still need your help in discovering insights about your needs that will ultimately lead to best-in-class features. We simply wanted to address some open questions, and we hope our ideas spark more of your ideas!

We will continue raising awareness of the project, and we ask that you please tell your friends and your family too. Be sure to ask that they pledge as much as they can afford, so we can make this city more livable and our public services more usable.

Thanks from everyone at Greater Good Studio.

Our first backers: You've started a revolution.

Hey heroes,

You've made a great choice. Thank you for getting in on the ground floor, and supporting what we know is an untraditional Kickstarter. We're so glad that someone else out there shares our crazy vision.

We've got press! If you didn't see the exclusive Gapers Block article, it ran on Monday with an update on Tuesday. The Red Eye interviewed George yesterday and ran an awesome piece online, which will be in the print version today. They also ran a related story that's actually pretty funny - what they'd like to see in the perfect CTA app. Our Twitter's blowing up, and we're sending out a big round of press releases to tech, design and local editors later today. Finally, watch our Designing Chicago blog this week for some new video footage from our interviews with Massimo Vignelli and John Tolva.

So here's what we've realized. Our original numbers estimated about 1300 backers, but at the rate we're going, we either need double that, or we need to get some larger donors involved. So here's our ask: there are so many organizations out there that want to reach Chicago commuters, and increase their impact on the community. Think about where you work. Would they want to sponsor a neighborhood, an L line or even the Loop? Will you ask your boss today to take a look and see if there's room in the marketing budget?

With everyone's help, we can make this project happen, and design a better Chicago.

Thank you again!

George and Sara Aye
Greater Good Studio