On its surface, a municipal ID is a form of identification offered up by a municipality (as opposed to a state or federal government). On its surface. Peel back the layers and it represents so much more. In April, the Office of the City Clerk is launching a CityKey program to unlock unique Chicago experiences, both tangible and intangible, to any resident of the city. Starting with the tangible, CityKey has the potential to connect to many services with respect to both city government and the private sector.
Eric Vazquez, the Chief Technology Officer for the City Clerk’s office says that CityKey “allow Chicagoans to experience Chicago the way they never have before”. I have used my CityKey to get on the L, get off at Harold Washington Library, then use my CityKey again to check out library material. All with one card. In the future, it will bring with it discounts at cultural institutions, perks from local businesses, benefits from sports teams, and, as Eric will tell you, oodles of other features.
And then, there are the intangibles. There is something to be said for a valid, government-issued photo ID that is made available to every Chicago resident, regardless of housing status, criminal record, immigration status or gender identity. And for me, CityKey represents something else: my civic pride. Anyone who knows me knows that I am fanatical about my city. One my proudest moments was when our former CEO referred to me as “the Chicago guy”. So “the Chicago guy” rushed to become Chicago resident number 58 to get his CityKey. And, as Eric will tell you, I am not alone in my motivation. Please join me as Eric talks about this inclusive and innovative program: