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NYCommons helps New Yorkers impact decisions about public land and buildings in their neighborhoods. It is a collaboration between Common Cause/NY, the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center, and 596 Acres, Inc.

This site uses the Living Lots ® framework by 596 Acres ®.



  1. Python 2.x.
  2. Postgres and PostGIS. Depending on your OS this can be relatively painless.
    • Add a user and database specifically for NYCommons with PostGIS enabled on it. It may be easiest to keep both named nycommons.
    • Load a development database snapshot.
  3. node LTS version 6.10.* and npm.

Install the NYCommons Django project

  1. Clone this repo locally.
  2. Create a Python environment where your requirements will be saved with virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper.
  3. Install the requirements: pip install -r requirements/base.txt and pip install -r requirements/local.txt.
  4. Set all the required environment variables in your shell. Copy deploy/templates/ somewhere and source it when developing the project.
  5. With the virtualenv activated, try to run the Django project: django-admin runserver_plus. If there are issues with environment variables, the database, or other requirements, they should appear here.
  6. The database dump you loaded will have no useful superusers. Create one with django-admin createsuperuser.

Install TileStache

Tilestache serves the points and polygons that appear on the map.

  1. Copy the tilestache.cfg template into a new directory in the project root called tilestache. Update the username, database, and password as necessary.
  2. Create the views needed for TileStache to run (visible_centroids and visible_polygons). You can either run the SQL manually or copy Makefile.example to a file named Makefile, set the DB_NAME and DB_USER, and run make install_tilestache_views.
  3. When you run -c tilestache/tilestache.cfg you should get no errors.

Install the client-side requirements

  1. cd nycommons/static
  2. npm install
  3. grunt dev should work without any errors.

Putting it all together

Whenever you're developing for the site you'll want the following processes running:

  1. Django: django-admin runserver_plus.
  2. TileStache: -c tilestache/tilestache.cfg.
  3. Grunt: cd nycommons/static && grunt dev.



GNU Affero General Public License. See LICENSE.


Django site for NYCommons




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