A website to bring municipal politics to citizens
Meine Stadt Transparent
Meine Stadt Transparent is a free council information system. Its current main focus is presenting data from offical German council information systems, so called "Ratsinformationssysteme". Those are imported using the OParl API, which can easily customized. You can even write your own importer for arbitrary data sources.
Our sample live system using the data of the city Krefeld is available at: https://krefeld.meine-stadt-transparent.de/. We provide a public chat on riot at
#meine-stadt-transparent:matrix.org, which you can join on matrix.
The project was sponsored by the Prototype Fund.
About this project
Meine Stadt Transparent makes decision-making in city councils and administrations more transparent by providing easy access to information about the city council, including published documents, motions and meeting agendas. As a successor to Munich's München Transparent, its aim is to be easily deployable for as many cities as possible.
It includes many features regarding data research and staying up to date, targeted both towards citizens and journalists:
- Information about city councillors, administrative organizations and meetings of the city council are provided.
- All published documents are searchable in a flexible manner, be it motions, resolutions, meeting agendas or protocols. The search supports both simple full-text searches and flexible criteria-based filters.
- Documents are automatically searched for mentioned places. A map is provided indicating places that are mentioned. Thus, it is easy to identify documents that affect places in your living neighborhood.
- You can subscribe to topics / search expressions to get notified by e-mail, once new documents matching your query are published.
- It supports several ways of subscribing to new content: different kinds of RSS-feeds and subscribing to the meeting calendar using the iCal-format.
- We try to make Meine Stadt Transparent accessible by everyone: the layout is responsive to provide a good experience on mobile device, and we follow accessibility standards (WCAG 2.0 AA, ARIA) as close as possible.
Meine Stadt Transparent is not a complete replacement for traditional council information systems, however: it focuses on displaying already published information to the public. It does not provide a user-accessible backend for content authoring. It relies on the availability of an API provided by a council information system backend. Currently, the open Oparl-Standard is supported.
Production setup with docker compose
Prerequisites: A host with root access and enough ram for elasticsearch and mariadb. If you don't have much ram, create a big swapfile for memory spikes in the import.
All services will run in docker containers orchestrated by docker compose, with nginx as reverse proxy in front of them which also serves static files.
Download etc/docker-compose.yml from the root of this repository. Replace all
changeme with real random passwords (Hint:
openssl rand -hex 32).
Download etc/template.env to
REAL_HOST to your domain,
SECRET_KEY to a randomly generated secret and use the same passwords as in
MINIO_SECRET_KEY. You most likely want to configure third-party services as described later, but you can postpone that until after the base site works.
To deliver the assets through nginx, we need to mount them to a local container:
mkdir log chown 33:33 log mkdir -p /var/www/meine-stadt-transparent-static docker volume create --opt type=none --opt o=bind django_static --opt device=/var/www/meine-stadt-transparent-static
You can change the directory to any other as long as you match that later in your nginx conf.
Wait until the elasticsearch log says
Cluster health status changed from [RED] to [YELLOW] and open another terminal. You can later start the services as daemons with
-d or stop them with
Then we can run the migrations, create the buckets for minio (our file storage) and create the elasticsearch indices. If something failed you can rerun the setup command, it will only create missing indices.
docker-compose run --rm django ./manage.py setup
Let's load some dummy data to check everythings wokring:
docker-compose run --rm django ./manage.py loaddata mainapp/fixtures/initdata.json
You should now get a 200 response from localhost:8000.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot sudo apt update sudo apt install nginx certbot python3-certbot-nginx
Download etc/nginx-http.conf, add it to your nginx sites and replace
changeme.tld with your domain. Then run certbot and follow the instructions:
Certbot will rewrite the nginx configuration to a version with strong encryption. You might also want to activate http/2 by adding
http2 after both
You now have a proper site at your domain!
Now that everything is in place, drop the dummy data:
docker-compose run --rm django ./manage.py flush
Instead, import real data by replacing
Springfield with the name of your city. See docs/Import.md for details.
docker-compose run --rm django ./manage.py import Springfield
You should now have a usable instance!
Finally, create a daily cronjob with the following. This will import changed objects from the oparl api and then notify the users. Also make sure that there is a cronjob for certbot.
docker-compose run --rm django ./manage.py cron
You can execute all the other commands from this readme by prepending them with
docker-compose run --rm django (or starting a shell in the container). Note for advanced users:
.venv/bin/python is configured as entrypoint.
Next, have a look at docs/Customization.md.
After pulling a new version of the docker container, you need to run the following commands to update the assets:
docker-compose down rm -r /var/www/meine-stadt-transparent-static mkdir /var/www/meine-stadt-transparent-static docker-compose run --rm django ./manage.py setup docker-compose up
If you have a Kubernetes cluster, you can have a look at this experimental setup which is used by Münster.
- Python 3.7 or 3.8 with pip and poetry 1.1
- A recent node version (12 or 14) with npm (npm 6 is tested)
- A webserver (nginx or apache is recommended)
- A Database (MariaDB is recommended, though anything that django supports should work)
- If you want to use elasticsearch, you either need docker and docker compose or will have to install elasticsearch 7.9 yourself
sudo apt install python3-pip python3-venv python3-dev nodejs \ git libmysqlclient-dev libmagickwand-dev poppler-utils tesseract-ocr libssl-dev gettext
poetry config settings.virtualenvs.in-project true # This is not mandatory, yet quite useful poetry install npm install
Activate the virtualenv created by poetry. You either need to run this in your shell before running any other python command or prefix any python command with
Copy etc/template.env to
.env and adjust the values. You can specify a different dotenv file with the
ENV_PATH environment variable.
Configure your webserver, see e.g. etc/nginx.conf
The following steps are only required when you want to deploy the site to production. For development, see the corresponding section below
npm run build:prod npm run build:email ./manage.py collectstatic
Follow the the official guide. Unlike the guide, we recommend gunicorn over wsgi as gunicorn is much simpler to configure.
Please refer to docs/Development.md
If you hit problems regarding memory when starting elasticsearch, please have a look at this documentation.
If MySQL/MariaDB is to be used as a database backend, a Version of at least 5.7 (MySQL) or 10.2 (MariaDB) is needed, with Barracuda being set as the default format for new InnoDB-Tables (default), otherwise you will run into errors about too long Indexes.
This software is published under the terms of the MIT license. The json files under
testdata/oparl are adapted from the oparl project and licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0. The license of the included animal pictures
mainapp/assets/images are CC0 and CC-BY-SA Luigi Rosa. The redistribution of
etc/Donald Knuth - The Complexity of Songs.pdf is explicitly allowed in its last paragraph.
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