13 November 2014 to 01 November 2015


Project Owner

London Borough of Lambeth

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13 November 2014 View History

Connecting Communities is a project to help link and map the resources in the local community, businesses, community groups and service providers.

Traditionally local government has kept a centralised list of database of their "community groups" or "assets". It is invariably out of date, restricted access and fiercely protected by the officer(s) who run it. Other lists of contacts are held by numerous people within local gov, email lists, a database here or another one there. Out in community land there are huge numbers of contact lists, networks that have been created, pathways between people, groups and places. Hyper-local web sites or single issue web sites (Project Dirt for instance) have thousands of local people logged in, their user profiles are updated by the user whenever necessary. Their interests and ideas are listed and referable.

The Connecting Communities project is based on Ohana, already used by Code for America as an API for resources and services. There will be a component that will be installed in some existing hyper-local web sites that will link with all the registered groups and user profiles and take that information back to the Ohana site. It will then allow users and groups to "find out about each other" be it within a radius of where they are or across the borough or wider. It will link them according to their interests or tags within their profiles. A user will be able to send out a request to others, names unknown, about an issue or topic. The Connecting Communities system will perform that link, matching users with other users and groups.

External organisations such as the local authority will be able to contact, via a moderated proxy, users about a specific issue, to ask for feedback, inform about a new idea or project. It would offer targeted connections right down to the post-code or street.

We are planning on linking in with sites such as Project Dirt to link their resource of groups and users with other resources elsewhere held on other web sites or systems.

The local authority, health service, police and others will then have (subject to permission) indirect access to a wider range of resources than if they maintained their own database list internally. It would offer them a wide range of people, groups and services all with their own metadata about them.

Due to its very nature, the Ohana based information is scalable, it can reach across borough boundaries and more accurately reflects what is happening out in the communities, who can do what and where? It could also be used, we think, for accessing service providers under the provision of the new Care Act

All open source code, all available for all.


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