Adoption of Change by Us in Philadelphia shows the potential of reusable civic software


This afternoon, Code for America announced that civic engagement platform Change by Us is launching in Philadelphia and into the Civic Commons, where it has been open sourced. Philadelphia residents (and all other interested parties) can check it out now at As someone who spent the bulk of childhood in Philadelphia, this is great to see.

Abhi Nemani, at Code for America, highlighted the significance of the move over at the nonprofit’s blog, where he wrote that this is an important step forward for the reuse of civic software in the country:

the civic engagement platform initially deployed in New York is now available for any city to use under a free open source license. Change By Us’s reuse shows the opportunity for shared civic software.

He’s spot on. A short video about Change By Us is embedded below. Source code and instructions for installation of Change By Us are available for download on Github.

Change by Us Philadelphia from Change by Us on Vimeo.


Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.


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