Civic Commons is a non-profit initiative that helps governments build and use shared and open technologies to improve public services, transparency, accountability, citizen participation, and management effectiveness, all while saving money.
Amid the last two decades’ astounding advances in consumer and enterprise technologies, governments — especially cities, towns, counties, and the other units of government that are responsible to deliver public services every day — have largely been standing on the sidelines. Civic Commons is dedicated to helping cities embrace the transformative potential of shared technologies and collaborative development techniques that have been pioneered and proven in the private sector.
We believe that our cities can now take advantage of the same technologies that have generated such enormous efficiencies and innovative services in our lives as citizens and consumers. In a digitally interconnected world, cities don’t have to operate in isolation: they can pool their resources — their talents and ever-shrinking budgets — to build shared technologies, save money, and innovate.
And here’s how we’re helping them…
What we do
We Help Governments Work Together to Innovate
We believe that governments can make better use of scarce technology dollars by working together to solve common problems. We’re helping them share their solutions. Here’s how:
- We’re building an online marketplace for civic technologies (currently in development), to network government technology professionals as they buy and build software.
- We provide direct technical assistance to government entities regarding the process of open-sourcing software applications. See some of the work we’ve done recently, and find out how you can work with us.
We Build Open Civic Platforms
Platforms are technologies that enable the creation of new things: think about the Internet or the iPhone as a platform, and all of the apps that have been built on top of each of them. We see the same potential within government — to build a “civic platform” that enables more diverse, meaningful, and sustained connections between governments and citizens thorough the creation of civic applications. This is both a technical issue, requiring a rethinking of government technology architectures and priorities, and a social issue, causing us to consider how governments and citizens connect with one another on a daily basis.
Our flagship open platform is Open311 — a standard and API for citizen reporting that was developed collaboratively among a large number of cities and commercial technology providers. Open311 is the front line of civic engagement in cities around the world.
We Spread Knowledge and Develop Community
When it comes to civic technology we know there is an answer to your question out there somewhere. We’ll help you find other’s answers and share your own, building a strong community along the way:
- We’re connecting civic leaders with questions with their peers with answers through our deep and continually growing wiki on open data, open source software, and open government, which includes a curated legal guide on navigating the procurement processes for open source software.
- We’re also building a network of open government advocates both within and outside government with our active network and discussion forums. Check out the community page to see the different ways to get involved with our work.
Who we are
Civic Commons team consists of government technology veterans, software engineers, technology policy experts, and open source software development specialists. We’re also backed by a board of advisors with experience across the civic technology space.
Civic Commons is proud to work with many partners in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including: