Introducing the NYCommons

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Jackson Hts., New York, March 12, 2015 – Yesterday I received an invitation from Peter H. Kostmayer, CEO of Citizens Committee for New York City to a most interesting meeting taking place this evening. Here’s the invite:

I’m writing to invite you to a meeting and introduce NYCommons, a project of the Urban Justice Center, Common Cause New York, and the Fund for Public Advocacy.

NYCommons is in the planning stages, and they would like your input to help shape a citywide coalition to influence policy making around how the city deals with its public assets.

One of the goals of the project is to provide local stakeholders with tools needed to impact decisions around the future of their parks, libraries, community gardens, housing and other publicly held spaces.  By creating accessible information about who controls these public assets, how decisions about the properties are made, and how members of the public can influence these choices, NYCommons seeks to build a coalition to help communities raise their voices to ensure that local people will continue to enjoy the benefits of shared space for generations to come. Together we will develop a citywide framework to address the issues raised by decisions affecting future use of public places.

As a New Yorker I have a vital interest in knowing “who controls these public assets, how decisions about the properties are made, and how members of the public can influence these choices” and will be there tonight. And I’ll be stressing the need to add .nyc to the list of commons resources.

For some background see our Public Spaces page on our wiki.

The meeting’s tonight, March 12, from 6:30-8 at the Urban Justice Center, 123 William Street (16th Floor), Downtown Manhattan. For more on the event see here.


About the Author:

Thomas thinks about technology and its impact on the quality of urban life.
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  1. Thomas Lowenhaupt  March 13, 2015

    This was a most promising meeting. Moderated by Kimberly of the Fund for Public Advocacy (overseen by the public advocate Letitia James) the approximately 30 attendees represented a broad range of entities involved with public spaces: advocates for community gardens, parks, bikes, vacant public land, etc.

    One task they’d like to undertake is creating a catalog or directory of the approximately 150 different organizations that control public land in New York City. Additionally, they’d like to create a digital tool that would let people organize around protecting the commons. [There didn’t appear to be a sophisticated differentiation between public resources and commons.]

    Having helped organize the Making-Worlds conference in 2012-2013 we have a history of supporting the commons and advancing the .nyc TLD as part of same.

    We noted that .nyc domain names could be used to assist the parallel traditional names entity, for example, assure that is used to advance the Travers Park common space. Additionally, there’s the potential for carving new public spaces out of the digital realm and using these to coordinate the NYCommons initiative.

    We made a statement that the Public Advocate, as Chair of the Commission on Public Information and Communication, should use that hat to advocate for transparency in operation of he .nyc TLD.


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