2015 – The Year of the dotNeighborhoods

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neighborhoodJackson Hts., New York, January 18, 2015 – One of the unheralded achievements of the de Blasio administration’s first year was saving the neighborhood domain names – Astoria.nyc, Bensonhurst.nyc, Chelsea.nyc, etc. from the auction block. Under Bloomberg, these historic names were slotted to be sold off during the Landrush period to whoever had the biggest bank account. But under the guidance of Mayor de Blasio’s Sr. Adviser Jeff Merritt, the names were reserved:

The City of New York has reserved roughly 400 neighborhood names for use by community groups to develop new online hubs for civic engagement, online organizing and information-sharing. Neighborhood names will be available beginning in Fall 2014 and will be licensed to community groups through a competitive application process.

In order to be eligible for a .nyc neighborhood name, the lead organization must meet the following minimum qualifications: (a) registered as a not-for-profit, public benefit corporation or local development corporation, and (b) located within the neighborhood for which a .nyc domain name is sought.

Neighborhoods have been a long-time focus of ours. (See our dotNeighborhood wiki pages.) We’ve imagined vast unrealized social and civic potential, hamstrung by inadequate communication. Our most noticeable involvements with them was a collaboration with the New York Internet Society and Wikimedia-NY that explored the potential of neighborhood wikis. (See NYCwiki.org). So we were delighted by this development.

Over the next year a considerable part of our efforts will focus on making the most of these dotNeighborhoods. We hope to plan a pilot project with the following components:

  • Organizing – Write an on the ground plan for ways to engage local residents and organizations to support the venture. This will include ways to determine local training needs and integration with existing entities – digital and traditional.
  • Technology – Create a system with five components:
    • Centrally gathered neighborhood data: demographics, maps, economic info, government programs and grant information. Here we will look to collaborate with the city administration and entities such as Beta-NY.
    • A host system that includes a wiki component enabling everyone to record and publish a neighborhood’s memory. (For example, see Davis Wiki.)
    • Features that support discussion, decision making, and organizing.
    • An app for engagement while roaming the streets, with 311, service reviews, and peer connections.
    • A business model.
  • Best Practices – Establish a process for sharing ideas with other neighborhoods.

We invite the many who’ve indicated supported for our dotNeighborhoods initiative to limber up their minds and/or fingers and get ready for a most exciting year. Those who do not receive our dotNeighborhood notices should sign-up using the form at the lower left below.

NOTE 1: A paper on city neighborhood names was presented at a November 2015 “The City As A Commons” conference in Bologna, Italy by Connecting.nyc Inc.’s Thomas Lowenhaupt. See it here.

Note 2: We’ve published a series of pags on dotNeighborhoods. See them here.

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  1. Thomas Lowenhaupt  March 7, 2015

    Following up on these thoughts we initiated an effort to develop the JacksonHeights.nyc domain names early in 2015. The following, from our 6 Month Report (http://www.connectingnyc.org/digital-nyc/), discusses that experience.

    Tom Lowenhaupt

    ———————-
    Early in 2014 Mayor de Blasio announced that it had reserved nearly 400 neighborhood names for development by entities representing the public interest. And it created a path for their allocation – see neighborhoods.nyc. We tested the proposed allocation process recently by encouraging local civic entities to apply for the JacksonHeights.nyc name. We chose Jackson Heights because it represented the home team – we’re based there – and the neighborhood has a young entrepreneurial population engaged with tech.

    The response was lukewarm at best. Only one organization indicated it might take on the site’s development. And that commitment was on an “as time allows” basis. Also, no existing organization matched the proposed governance standard.

    We concluded that if a suitable application was to be filed for JacksonHeights.nyc, it would best be submitted by a new entity, one having the website as its primary mission. And we concluded that the neighborhood names might best be issued to contracted parties, committed to the principles set out on neighborhoods.nyc, with periodic reviews to establish compliance. A scenario of this sort would require an investment for start up and oversight.

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