Code for Philly

Helping makers and doers work together to upgrade our city

Code for [My Town]

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Latest Project Activity

Billy Hanafee  PHLASK: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Water Update #5

Happy New Year, Code for Philly community. Here are some updates on the PHLASK Project:

Drinking Water Working Group Meeting At the end of December, I attended a meeting of the newly formed Drinking Water Working Group, which has been convened to address people’s reluctance for drinking tap water. I gave a presentation of our efforts over the past year and talked about ways the PHLASK Project could buttress the new coalition’s mission. There were nearly 20 attendees, representing both city departments (PWD, PDPH, Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet, Managing Director’s Office) and several non-profit organizations. There is ample opportunity for us to use our existing work to guide cooperation with various members and subcommittees of the Drinking Water Working Group.

Potential opportunities include:

  • Recruiting students for data collection and Map/App testing
  • Public Water Testing
  • PHLASK Map for citywide events (marathons, concerts, etc.)

PHLASK Map - Now on Node Work has begun on migrating the PHLASK Map from the main PHLASK WordPress website to it’s own standalone Node.js application. This change allows for us to incorporate better version control protocols and to make changes and improvements live more quickly. We are currently in the process of matching the page style of the Node.js application to the old WordPress application and once complete the Node.js version will go live.

PHLASK Website migration With the assistance of Code for Philly organizers we are containerizing both the PHLASK WordPress websites and new Node.js PHLASK map through docker. Once containerized we will also be using Code for Philly web hosting through Linode to deploy our applications and website.

PHLASK Map / App UX/UI Design Project Newcomer Anna has brought an exciting new skillset to the team with her knowledge of UX/UI design. She is helping lead efforts to critically examine how people will interact with the PHLASK Map / App and create intuitive features. She is planning a transparent method to engage stakeholders and interested parties in contributing to the process. The current plan can be found here: PHLASK UX Research Plan


As always, we welcome support, contributions and feedback from anyone who would like to get involved.

Abbott Shea  Youth Education Program Matcher Update #2

We are moving the project to maintaining! Great work by @alatshaw & @benjammin to define the product and get it into the hands of some pilot programs.

The product will continue to evolve from here. @alatshaw will be taking over main ownership of the project, and will still be working closely with @benjammin to get new features added through the new year. Anyone looking to work with and help a great product looking to impact an under supported part of the Philly community reach out to either of them!

Spencer Snygg  VoteWise.net Update #21

IT WORKS!!!!!

Right now, it works as a pretty decent voters guide.

  • There is a 5 minute questionnaire you can take to get matched up with your politicians (this is 21 questions for this election)
  • There is a Ballot Match questionnaire where you can answer every single question that politicians in your area answered (this is over 60 depending on your area)
  • You can take quizzes on just about every topic imaginable - Unlike the match questions, we wrote these to make you think while you are being polled . You learn about the issue from all sides of an argument so you can start thinking about middle ground while we match you up with organizations, politicians, and other users who can help you make a difference in your community.
  • You can see how organizations rated politicians. -You can see links to the organizations to learn more about them.
  • You can see the voting records of national incumbents
  • You can see who paid for the campaigns of National Incumbents. -You can see what committees the national incumbents have been on.
  • you can see the websites of the politicians -you can contact your elected officials year round. -you can contact the candidates.
  • you can see videos and essays from organizations so you can learn about the topics. -You can discuss the issues with other users in your city, your county, your state or across the nation. -You can see news feeds from national and international sources.

So what's the next step? Well, the goal of VoteWise is to get people to think about solving problems instead of treating elections as a football game to be won or lost. We realize that the competition aspects of elections is what gets people pumped and that's why we focused on the election tools first. But we'd like to start getting more into our actual goal of problem solving.

Tools we hope to build soon:

  • A way to track legislation and be notified when something you care about is coming up for a vote.
  • More integration of state and local info
  • Better integration of organizations into the mix (501 c3' and c4's)
  • Better integration of news feeds so users could see a variety of news feeds from their specific locality rather than a selection of 50 or so from a drop down) This feed would ultimately be a national source, a local source and a randomized source so that they get the information they want, but they are also constantly fed some other source to get them out of their bubble.
  • A tool separate from our regular discussion tool that is especially aimed at creating solutions to problems. Think of it as a hack event with no timeline and the goal is actually solving the problem rather than getting an award. (Someone proposes a problem or a solution to a problem. People discuss the solution in committee and fine tune it. It gets presented to larger community and suggestions are made. It goes back to committee, reworked and proposed again. This happens until a significant number of people think it is a workable solution and then we get interested organizations/politicians involved and track it's progress. Perhaps we create a tool that collects the skills of volunteers, so that when a coder, a doctor, a mechanic, or whatever is needed, we can find them. TO track progress after proposal we could include links to Git or back here for coding things, GoFundMe or similar for funding, or whatever. I would love to hear your ideas.

Oh and before I forget, here are some ads we made:

https://vimeo.com/298708834 (30 second get out the vote ad)

https://vimeo.com/295984284 (45 second funny get out the vote ad)

https://vimeo.com/294472087 (1 minute serious ad about how money affects politics)

https://vimeo.com/295179318 (2 minute ad amusing as about how VoteWise helps democracy work better)

Feel free to share.