Change by Us is an online application that allows the citizens to submit ideas and collaborate on projects to improve their own city. With an opening screen similar to a sticky note board, the internet site encourages the publication of new ideas as well as the organization and participation in projects to realize such ideas. The project was initially created for the city of New York, but is has been also implemented in Philadelphia and Phoenix. As the code has been released under a AGPL license it emerges as a promising model for other cities and citizens interested to take action.
The application does not only enable the citizens to share ideas, but it also let them promote their project among other people interested, and facilitates the collaboration for the realization of an idea. For example, the citizens can join projects initiated by others as well as organize events and meetings. If volunteers are needed for a particular event, the system allows to publish volunteer needs, which can be fulfilled by other people participating in the project. In this way the platform brings together persons committed to change their city and helps them to organize and achieve their goals.
As the platform is not designed for a particular city, it can be adapted for the needs of other cities. While the source code of the application remained closed for a while, the whole application has been recently opensourced by the developing company, Local Projects, in collaboration with Code for America. This is an important step for the project and other cities, as it will enable to implement similar platforms around the globe to ignite local citizen engagement. It is a win-win situation because new cities will profit from a well designed and tested platform, while the existing implementations will profit from the new ideas and improvements brought by the new members. In other words, open innovation for urban engagement.
The repository and the instructions for the installation can be found in Github.
Videos: Change by us / vimeo.com/user8404124
April 10th, 2014