myPhillyRising Mobile Application

What are we trying to do?

The City of Philadelphia (specifically, the Managing Director’s Office) is looking to engage with a local developer, entrepreneur or software firm to build a mobile application we’re calling myPhillyRising.

The purpose of this application is to complement the work being done by the PhillyRising Collaborative in specific neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia. It is meant to be offered for free use by residents in neighborhoods that are the focus of PhillyRising activities.

Why are we trying to do this?

PhillyRising, an initiative of the City’s Managing Director’s office, is built on the idea of collaboration – government collaborating with citizens and community leaders to improve the quality of life in city neighborhoods. PhillyRising targets neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia that are plagued by chronic crime and quality of life concerns, and establishes partnerships with community members to help address these issues.

As part of this effort, we hope to provide residents in the neighborhoods being served by PhillyRising – and other neighborhoods through the City of Philadelphia – with a mobile application that will make it easier to connect and engage with their neighbors and the PhillyRising Team.

What do we hope to achieve?

We hope to create a citizen engagement app that connects people to the City of Philadelphia and empowers them to get involved in their community through volunteering and attending City-related events, including PhillyRising events and meetings.

A core component of the app will be a map of city facilities and neighborhood resources that can leverage a mobile phone’s GPS to determine which facilities are nearest to the user’s current location. (PhillyRising staff consistently interact with residents who are not aware of the wealth of resources in their neighborhood, and this function will help to ameliorate this condition.)

Some examples of the kinds of facilities and resources that are important for this app:

  • Recreation Centers/Parks
  • Libraries
  • Computer Labs/KEYSPOTS
  • Police/Fire Stations
  • Health Centers
  • Community Organizations
  • Public Pools

In addition, we would like for the application to aggregate a listing of events taking place in PhillyRising neighborhoods so that residents are aware of those events occurring near them that they can take part in, or invite their friends and neighbors to.

Different community groups within these neighborhoods may already have a mechanism for scheduling events (e.g., a Google Calendar that is available for public viewing) and some may not. The app should easily incorporate existing event feeds from various sources and also allow approved users to add new events through a specific event interface (possibly moderated, to ensure that added events are in alignment with the PhillyRising team’s goals). We’d like for users to be able to RSVP to planned events and to advertise their participation on social media networks and through other channels.

Some examples of the kinds of events that this community calendar component should make discoverable are:

We’d like for the app to have a “message board” type feature that let’s residents in PhillyRising neighborhoods ask questions and raise issues.

We’d also like for users to be able to leverage their existing social media credentials (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, G+) to log in and create an account for the myPhillyRising app. If possible, we’d like for users that have created accounts through the Philly311 mobile app to use those credentials with the myPhillyRising app.

Finally, we’d like for the developer(s) we choose for this project to think about game dynamics that could be incorporated into the app. Are there activities (i.e., attending a neighborhood clean up event ) that can be incentivized through the use of gaming features like earning “civic points” or perhaps a leaderboard displaying the names of those turning out for the most events? We’d like to hear your ideas on how you think game dynamics could be incorporated into this app most effectively.

Specific Requirements

The deadline for responding to this post is February 15, 2013. Details on how to submit a response are provided below.

We’re looking for a mobile web application, but if you think the goals and functionality described here would best be met through developing a native application, we’d like to hear your thoughts. Our goal is to make the application compatible with as many devices and platforms as possible – iOS, Android, BlackBerry, desktop browsers, etc. – so bear that in mind when responding.

The application must be branded as a City of Philadelphia product when completed. We encourage the use of open source software components as part of the app and require that the underlying application code be efficiently organized and well documented (from both a developer and an end user perspective).

We’re looking for a developer or firm that can provide ongoing support for the app that is developed, so if you build a cool solution we’ll be looking to work with you going forward for maintenance and possibly new features that may be added down the line.

Submitting a Response

NOTE – The period for submitting responses to this proposal has closed.

GitHub will be an important componet in how this project is developed and maintained going forward, so we wanted to incorporate it into the process of both solicitng and submitting responses. We’re posting this proposal as a Gist because we think that people that use GitHub proper and Gists as part of their daily workflow are ideally situated to provide the best solution. We also hope it will encourage some creative responses. 😉

To submit a proposal for building the myPhillyRising application, we ask that you do two things:

First, create a private GitHub repo (or a private Gist if you do not have a paid account). Add your response to this proposal to this private repo/Gist – you can add a PDF or Word document, Markdown, or even code something up if you think it is responsive to this soliciation. It’s up to you.

Second, notify us that you’d like to submit a proposal. If you created a private repo, simply add PhillyCDO to the repo. If you created a private Gist, send a message to PhillyCDO with the URL for your Gist to let us know that your response is ready for review.

That’s it!

Got questions?

Add a comment to this post if you have question or would like clarification on any of the points outlined here. We want all questions and responses to be publicly available for other potential respondents to see, to help ensure that everyone has a complete and full understanding of what we are looking for.

We reserve the right to engage in one-on-one discussions with individuals or firms that submit a response (as outlined above), depending on the quality and nature of the response.