The Civic Tech Graveyard

The Civic Tech Graveyard is where you can visit, celebrate, and pay your respects to the projects that are no longer with us. This collection was gathered for the purposes of original research by Micah Sifry and Matt Stempeck and continues to be updated with new entrants.

Illustration by Lorin Camargo

One of the main objectives of the Civic Tech Field Guide is to help the field’s builders and funders learn what didn’t work, so they can make and fund things that do. Which makes this page one of the most important on this site.

Some of the projects were experiments that proved a point and weren’t meant to endure. Others were fantastic, heavily funded flame-outs that ignored lessons learned by their predecessors. As The Museum of Failure puts it, “The majority of all innovation projects fail and the museum showcases these failures to provide visitors a fascinating learning experience. Every item provides unique insight into the risky business of innovation.” Ditto.

Or, as the authors of Digital Tools for a Responsive Government put it, “The history of civic technology is littered with discarded tools. Too often, well-intentioned city governments establish tools that never gain user attention, tools that obtain attention from select communities but fail to attract a broad user base over time, and tools that do little more than create a theater of civic engagement without actually increasing government responsiveness, thereby leading to a quick demise.”

Stewarding Loss in the UK explores what the world would look like if we put as much thought, intention, and yes, funding into decelerating civil society projects as we do growing them in the first place.

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You can help add to the Civic Tech Graveyard by submitting a project that’s missing or by contacting us.