The Laboratory for Civic Technology

The Laboratory for Civic Technology is on a mission to harness the internet to revitalize local community in America. We are deploying our decade of experience in civic tech design to revive CommonPlace, a modern town bulletin that has proven to be the best not-for-profit, open source web platform for local community engagement.

CommonPlace

A civic-minded, not-for-profit, and open source web platform for local community engagement.

Our Team

The original expansion of our pilot was structured as a for-profit startup. We soon discovered this would not work: first, our devotion to community organizing did not fit the rapid growth models that Silicon Valley investors demanded; second, the idea of building civic life online inside of a for-profit entity did not sit well with us, with neighbors or with town governments.

That’s why, in 2015, we launched the Laboratory for Civic Technology, a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission to harness the internet to revitalize local community in America. The Laboratory’s first task is reviving CommonPlace.

Ricky Porco

Ricky Porco is a native New Yorker and an alumni of James Madison University. He adds significant grassroots organizing experience and an unmatched devotion to civic technology to our team. Starting with pickup games of basketball on the playground as a kid, Ricky always took great pleasure in organizing people around him and building community. His enthusiasm for improving communication on a local level compelled him to become a leader of the CommonPlace movement in its earliest days, and his commitment to building helpful and useful civic technology has grown stronger every day since. Through his work in civic technology Ricky has developed a distinct appreciation for the fact that change of any great magnitude starts locally, right here in our own backyards.

Pete Davis

Pete Davis is the co-founder of the Laboratory for Civic Technology. He has co-founded a variety of civic projects: Harvard Thinks Big, a popular annual event that brings together professors to share their big ideas on one night in front of the Harvard community; the Progressive Alternative, an online magazine for Millennial Democratic policy; and Getaway, the nation’s first-ever venture-backed tiny house startup. From 2013-2014, he served as the labor and poverty coordinator for Ralph Nader's Center for Study of Responsive Law. He graduated from Harvard College in 2012 and is currently a student at Harvard Law School. At night, you can find Pete playing folk music and bopping around the Boston alternative stand up circuit.

Mark Malazarte

Mark Malazarte is the senior designer of the Laboratory for Civic Technology. Currently he is working as Senior UX Designer at Dow Jones, assisting the Data Science team in creating data products. When not designing, Mark’s passion lies in cinema and filmmaking, having studied under legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles at the Maysles Documentary Center, a non-profit cinema in the heart of Harlem, New York City.

Jason Berlinsky

Jason Berlinsky is the senior technologist of the Laboratory for Civic Technology. He is the managing partner of Barefoot Coders, a startup and enterprise software engineering consultancy specializing in building technology-driven businesses. He has worked with the Laboratory for Civic Technology team since 2010, building applications to foster civic growth and empowerment. His expertise is in bringing data- and technology-driven operations to companies that can utilize it to enhance their operations, a passion which was founded in the early days of CommonPlace, when minimal technology existed in the wild to enable neighbors to connect, and to enable organizers to better facilitate those connections. Jason graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014, and currently resides in New York City.

Contact Us

Contact Pete Davis at Pete@CivicIdeas.org with questions or subscribe to our mailing list to recieve more information.