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Civic Commons

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Sharing Technology for the Public Good

Sharing Technology for the Public Good

Published in: Technology, Education
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  • Civic Commons is an initiative of Code for America, OpenPlans, and the DC office of the CTO (OCTO), with support from O’Reilly Media.
  • 1) Government around the country are investing lots of time and money in new information systems. Right now, this largely happens in isolation.
    2) As you’d expect, governments typically build & buy similar kinds of tools - there is an opportunity for coordination, resulting in better decisionmaking and cost savings.
    3) Civic Commons intends to build connections among governments, to make the most of opportunities for sharing and collaboration.
  • 1) Government around the country are investing lots of time and money in new information systems. Right now, this largely happens in isolation.
    2) As you’d expect, governments typically build & buy similar kinds of tools - there is an opportunity for coordination, resulting in better decisionmaking and cost savings.
    3) Civic Commons intends to build connections among governments, to make the most of opportunities for sharing and collaboration.
  • This is not a new idea. There are already great examples of governments coordinating on tech projects, sharing code, and learning from one another. Civic Commons will simply bolster these efforts, spread lessons learned, and work to make new connections happen.
  • Another way to think about Civic Commons is as a “platform for open cities”, which connects:
    1) cities and governments (including their lists of needs, wants, and projects in progress), with
    2) available technologies (open source projects, proprietary or web-based products, standards initiatives, etc.), with
    3) information resources (legal, policy, case studies, etc.), with
    4) supporting organizations (vendors, nonprofits, volunteers, etc)
  • Another way to think about Civic Commons is as a “platform for open cities”, which connects:
    1) cities and governments (including their lists of needs, wants, and projects in progress), with
    2) available technologies (open source projects, proprietary or web-based products, standards initiatives, etc.), with
    3) information resources (legal, policy, case studies, etc.), with
    4) supporting organizations (vendors, nonprofits, volunteers, etc)
  • Another way to think about Civic Commons is as a “platform for open cities”, which connects:
    1) cities and governments (including their lists of needs, wants, and projects in progress), with
    2) available technologies (open source projects, proprietary or web-based products, standards initiatives, etc.), with
    3) information resources (legal, policy, case studies, etc.), with
    4) supporting organizations (vendors, nonprofits, volunteers, etc)
  • Another way to think about Civic Commons is as a “platform for open cities”, which connects:
    1) cities and governments (including their lists of needs, wants, and projects in progress), with
    2) available technologies (open source projects, proprietary or web-based products, standards initiatives, etc.), with
    3) information resources (legal, policy, case studies, etc.), with
    4) supporting organizations (vendors, nonprofits, volunteers, etc)
  • Another way to think about Civic Commons is as a “platform for open cities”, which connects:
    1) cities and governments (including their lists of needs, wants, and projects in progress), with
    2) available technologies (open source projects, proprietary or web-based products, standards initiatives, etc.), with
    3) information resources (legal, policy, case studies, etc.), with
    4) supporting organizations (vendors, nonprofits, volunteers, etc)
  • Another way to think about Civic Commons is as a “platform for open cities”, which connects:
    1) cities and governments (including their lists of needs, wants, and projects in progress), with
    2) available technologies (open source projects, proprietary or web-based products, standards initiatives, etc.), with
    3) information resources (legal, policy, case studies, etc.), with
    4) supporting organizations (vendors, nonprofits, volunteers, etc)
  • Another way to think about Civic Commons is as a “platform for open cities”, which connects:
    1) cities and governments (including their lists of needs, wants, and projects in progress), with
    2) available technologies (open source projects, proprietary or web-based products, standards initiatives, etc.), with
    3) information resources (legal, policy, case studies, etc.), with
    4) supporting organizations (vendors, nonprofits, volunteers, etc)
  • Another way to think about Civic Commons is as a “platform for open cities”, which connects:
    1) cities and governments (including their lists of needs, wants, and projects in progress), with
    2) available technologies (open source projects, proprietary or web-based products, standards initiatives, etc.), with
    3) information resources (legal, policy, case studies, etc.), with
    4) supporting organizations (vendors, nonprofits, volunteers, etc)
  • Another way to think about Civic Commons is as a “platform for open cities”, which connects:
    1) cities and governments (including their lists of needs, wants, and projects in progress), with
    2) available technologies (open source projects, proprietary or web-based products, standards initiatives, etc.), with
    3) information resources (legal, policy, case studies, etc.), with
    4) supporting organizations (vendors, nonprofits, volunteers, etc)

  • Our first project is to simply catalog applications and tools that have potential to be shared. Right now, it’s just a wiki (http://wiki.civiccommons.com)
  • But next, we plan to develop this into a more “dynamic marketplace” - a catalog (that lives on top of resources like github, sourceforge, and others) that provides a government-oriented view of what tools are available and how they match up with the needs of the community.
  • We are also looking to identify specific packages that have big potential to be shared. For example, the Federal IT Dashboard. We are currently working with the developers of this tool to get it open sourced, and with several cities who are interested in implenting it.
  • Same story for the SF enterprise addressing system.
  • And the Federal Register.
  • Another example is open311, where several cities are collaborating to develop an open standard and API for non-emergency issue reporting.
  • CC was founded by several organiazations with a shared interest in the development of a common platform for civic technology collaboration (OCTO, CfA, OpenPlans, O’Reilly), and we are building a wide network of supporters and collaborators.
  • Here is where we are headed.
  • Sign up on the website, let us know about promising civic tech projects, and join the discussion at discuss@civiccommons.com
  • Thanks. See you on the internets. Time for discussion.
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