The Law Center is Seeking a Web Developer to Improve Our Grounded In Philly Site

The Public Interest Law Center is seeking a web developer experienced in Django to complete an update of Grounded In Philly, a unique map-based tool for community gardeners and others who wish to return vacant land to productive use.

See complete request for proposals here.


Through our Garden Justice Legal Initiative, we provide legal, technical, organizing and education to community gardeners and market farmers that are working to ensure gardens and farms in Philadelphia are preserved for the long-term. One of our goals is to meet the unmet need for information about the city’s 40,000 vacant parcels and how to return them to productive use and put them in the hands of gardeners.

In 2013 we created, an innovative web-based mapping and organizing tool that provides users easy access to information about vacant lots. A person looking to start a garden in her neighborhood can use the website to identify nearby vacant lots, determine if the lots are publicly or privately owned or already in use, find out if the lot is currently up for sale and if so, how much it costs, see the size of the lot and its zoning designation, and determine which City Council district it is located in.

Since its launch, over 67,000 people have used Grounded In Philly. More than 200 neighbors have used the tool to rally around more than 100 vacant lots to start new gardens.

Needs Assessment

Grounded in Philly needs upgrades and additional resources so it can fully live up to its potential. Much of the data the Law Center relies on, including existing garden data, is out of date and no longer in line with current needs.

First, the City of Philadelphia has made additional data sources available to us since we first launched the site, which will take some resources to incorporate into our map. These data sets include information about gardens that exist on publicly-owned parcels. Second, experience with the site shows that we also need to improve some of the site functionality, including our ability to post information about upcoming vacant land trainings, events and advocacy opportunities.

Scope of Work

We envision the selected vendor will help us hone this scope of work and determine which of these activities will be most fruitful and worthy of our time and financial resources. Our top priority is updating existing open data sources and making use of newly available data.

The vendor will work with the Law Center staff to upgrade its website, focusing on three main goals:

  1. Update existing open data sources to make use of newly available or updated data.

New data sources the Law Center would like to incorporate include Licenses and Inspections code violations and building permits, property tax balances, zoning permits, and sheriff’s sale data.

  1. Optimize back end operations.

We would like to be able to re-use media files. Emails submitted through the website are difficult to read due to including embedded characters. The Law Center would also like to update the starburst symbol currently used to identify gardens on the map.

  1. Enhance user experience.

The functionality of the map’s filtering tool should be improved. The Law Center would also like create a way to identify privately-owned land that owners would like to make available for gardening.

For more information about specific areas for improvement, as well as proposal requirements, see our complete request for proposals.

The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Monday, July 23, 2018. All proposals should be sent by email to Jonathan McJunkin at