Commons is a mobile social gaming platform for civic engagement that enables citizens to publicly report problems, suggest improvements in their neighborhoods, vote up one another’s ideas and share the things they love most about their neighborhoods.

I created Commons in 2011, and built the mobile app with two colleagues from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program: Nien Lam (Developer) and Jamie Lin (Visual Designer and Game Designer). Commons is designed to give the average citizen visibility into what others are reporting on in their city and a simple method of tracking results, offering a fun and constructive outlet for citizen reporting.

Design & Development

Commons connects mobile and web users through an online service that combines features of 311 reporting, SMS messaging, serendipitous social interactions, real-time voting, game mechanics, and data visualization.  It is designed to make citizen reporting and civic engagement more fun, more interactive, more convenient while we’re on the go, and more relevant for young people.  The location-aware platform that integrates with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, alerts local businesses to opportunities in their area, and serves as a new channel for existing 311 services and e-gov platforms.

Commons won the “Real World Games for Change Challenge” in 2011, a design award sponsored by Games for Change, which funded the iOS mobile app in the App Store.

Concept Video:

Press & Demos

Nov 7, 2011: Forbes [feature]

Nov 2, 2011: New York Tech Meetup (NYTM) Demo, New York, NY [live demo]

Sept 2, 2011: Think Innovation [feature]

July 18, 2011: Gov Fresh interview with Suzanne Kirkpatrick [interview]

June 27, 2011: The Gothamist [feature]

June 27, 2011: [feature]

June 21, 2011: Personal Democracy Forum, Tech President [feature]

June 20-22, 2011: 8th Annual Games for Change Festival Presents “Commons”, New York, NY [event and presentation]

June 20-22, 2011: Games for Change interview with Suzanne Kirkpatrick [interview]

June 19, 2011: Come Out & Play Festival, New York, NY [event]

June 16, 2011: New York Times [feature]

May 3, 2011: Games for Change “Introducing ‘Commons’, Winner of the Real World Games for Change Challenge 2011” [blog]