Civic Commons code-sharing initiative bids to reduce government IT costs

Civic CommonsAround the United States, city governments have created a multitude of software. Unfortunately, most of the time the code from those projects is not shared between municipalities, which results in duplication of effort and redundant, static software.

Civic Commons, launched today at the Gov 2.0 Summit in Washington, is aimed squarely at helping city governments share the software they’ve developed. Civic Commons is the product of the District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), Code for America and OpenPlans.

“In the District of Columbia alone, we have a large set of applications that other governments may find very useful,” said District CTO Bryan Sivak. The OCTO will be adding multiple applications into the “commons,” including a data warehouse application, a new agency performance management application, TrackDC, and numerous GIS applications. “Not only will other jurisdictions benefit from the public release of these applications, we will benefit from external individuals and organizations contributing to the code base and sharing exciting and innovative applications they have created,” Sivak said.

At launch, CivicCommons will catalogue existing projects like the DC App Store and the Federal IT Dashboard. As the blog post introducing Civic Commons explains:

The long-term goal is to develop the app catalog into an open ‘Civic Stack’ — a streamlined collection of software that cities can use to run core services. The stack will have open data and APIs like Open311 to encourage development and innovation, and so allow any developer to create a solution that’ll make life better for citizens anywhere.

You can read more about Civic Commons at And, if you happen to be online around 1:50 PM EST, you can tune in to the livestream for Gov 2.0 Summit to watch the launch announcement. For more perspective on open source and open government, you can also watch the video of DC CTO Bryan Sivak from the 2010 OSCON Conference below:


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