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Check out 3 civic tech projects connecting Philadelphians with ‘third places’

After a three-year hiatus, Code for Philly hosted its annual Launchpad for new volunteer-led projects focused on community connection.

Code for Philly's 2023 Launchpad kickoff event at City Hall on March 31. (Photo by Julie Zeglen)
This is a guest post by Kathryn Human, Code for Philly's communications lead.

We all need a free place to pass the time, meet with friends or learn a new skill. Thanks to volunteer civic hacking group Code for Philly, there are three new civic tech projects working toward connecting Philadelphians to that perfect spot.

Third places” are known as physical and digital spaces where we socialize outside of the home and work. Examples include parks, cafes, libraries, bookstores and community centers. These places with low barriers to entry are essential for accessing education and social interaction. However, many third places don’t have the funding or resources to reach their target audiences. That’s where Code for Philly comes in.

Code for Philly Launchpad 2023: Third Places, the monthlong hackathon event back for the first time since the start of the pandemic, kicked off in late March with a brainstorming session and project-building workshop centered on finding technical solutions for third places in Philadelphia. Out of a jam-packed weekend, three projects emerged: The Library Application Project, PhilaVibes and the Billy Events Application.

Over the past month, each project team worked toward demoing an open-source solution at the Launchpad project showcase at Indy Hall during Philly Tech Week 2023 presented by Comcast. Below is a breakdown of each project, their stage of development, and how to get involved or contribute.

The Library Application Project

The Library Application Project is a mobile application that will increase awareness of public library resources through an optimized web experience.

  • Project goal — Increase awareness of public library resources with an optimized, open-source mobile application
  • Stage — Bootstrapping
  • Get involved — Visit the Library Application Project webpage to learn more and get connected


PhilaVibes is a map application that will feature points surrounded by word clouds describing third places. The user can choose to see spaces around them, along their route, or around their destination.

  • Project goal — Help people in Philadelphia find a comfortable place to rest between destinations
  • Stage — Bootstrapping
  • Get involved — Visit the PhilaVibes project webpage to learn more and get connected

The Billy Events Application

The Billy Events Application is an AI-powered event discovery platform made to easily find information and refine those results.

  • Project goal — Easily connect event seekers, planners, and organizers with information on local events
  • Stage — Bootstrapping
  • Get involved — Check the Code for Philly Active Projects webpage for updates on getting involved with The Billy Events Application

Want to learn more about Code for Philly? Visit our website!

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