When the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 laid out Manhattan’s street grid, no one imagined streets being used for automobiles, trucks, and buses. But insightful planning enabled that 200 year old plan to serve multiple functions – even a subway running underneath.
The visions here presume the development of the .nyc TLD as a public interest resource. They begin with one person’s vision of the neighborhood he’d like to see, followed by snapshots of what city life might look like 2, 5, and 10 years after .nyc’s activation. First, here’s a clip one activist posted about changes he’d like to see in his Jackson Heights neighborhood.
- I want JacksonHeights.nyc to add more community to my neighborhood. (For background, a neighborhood is a geographic area and a community is connections, friendships, shared interests, and support. It can be local or global.)
- I want “adding more community” to be a priority requirement for any entity that’s given the license to run JacksonHeights.nyc.
- I want JacksonHeights.nyc to help create a more collaborative and caring neighborhood – both on and offline.
- I want it to expose and highlight needs and opportunities and facilitate collaborations. .
- I want it to empower residents to organize and address these needs.
- I want it to facilitate the creation of caring communities that focus on the needs of have nots.
- I want it to offer a great decision-making tool, one that helps form a majority without crushing the minority.
- I want a JacksonHeights.nyc that’s organized and governed as a common, with a collaborative decision making process engaging all the neighborhood’s stakeholders.
- I want JacksonHeights.nyc to help existing organizations (for and nonprofits) achieve their missions.
- I want JacksonHeights.nyc to pay its way and create a local job or two.
- I want JacksonHeights.nyc to be the first choice for local businesses online advertising dollars.
- I want JacksonHeights.nyc to be the place where residents turn for recommendations for dentists, doctors, electricians, plumbers, restaurants…
- I want it to have a neighborhood calendar I can plan my life around, with a calendar having a check box that allows me “Invite the world” or “Just for the neighborhood.”
- I want it to show 311 and 911 calls, showing respect for privacy of course.
- I want it to help residents organize to resolve issues raised by these calls.
- I want Jackson Heights.nyc to create a neighborhood where residents respond and adapt to climate change.
- I want JacksonHeights.nyc to be a safe place to conduct my online life. That means it must have DNSSEC and DANE (technical protocols) and be part of a citywide security and privacy effort.
- I want JacksonHeights.nyc to present all the information about the neighborhood that I or any visitor might want. This is information we know collectively and should be presented by wiki-style.
- I want the operator of JacksonHeights.nyc to serve residents via desktops, phones, tablets, etc.
- I want all the software used on JacksonHeights.nyc to be open source.
- I want JacksonHeights.nyc to share its riches with other city neighborhoods.
- And I want our neighborhood’s residents and institutions to train everyone interested in effectively using JacksonHeights.nyc.
It’s July 2017 and the Berger family is visiting from Berlin. They are in Times Square at noon, get hungry and decide its time to experience a slice of New York’s renowned pizza. They turn to their cell, say “pizza” and a list from a google-like service flashes several choices onto the screen. As they’re perusing the meny mom says “Wait, isn’t New York an eCity like back home?” And with that possibility in mind they say “pizza.nyc” and onto their screen pops a most excellent pizza. It’s got:
- a map of pizza places in their immediate area
- an alpha list searchable by distance, reviews, and price
- adds and coupons on a sidebar
- restaurant reviews from the press and the public
- and much more
“Das ist perfekt .” growls the hungry dad. The mom asks, “Is it available in German?” and with a click dad says “Ja.” And shortly they’re off for a delightful lunch thanks to New York having adopted the eCity model. (More on the pizza.nyc portal.)
The Global City
Jorge is walking east on 44th Street with his uncle Amadeu who is visiting from Barcelona. They’ve known of one another from family discussions but had only met 10 minutes earlier in front of the Algonquin Hotel. Jorge is 23 and visiting New York City for the first time since a high school trip. Amadeu was last in the city for a conference in the early 1990’s. Neither is familiar with the city and Jorge is somewhat ill at ease as he lives in a Columbus, Ohio suburb and finds the big city intimidating. Amadeu senses this and assures Jorge that New York City uses the same cyber model as Barcelona, so getting around should be a cinch. Jorge looks to Amadeu with a puzzled look and a polite “Pardon?”
Amadeu explains that both cities signed on to something called the Paris Understanding and created standards for naming both physical and digital resources and presenting them to the world. Amadeu, realizing that a more detailed explanation would take some time, pushed on asking, “So what’s the name of the restaurant you’ve wanted to go to?” “Fargo” shot back Jorge. Amadeu spoke Fargo and showed Jorge the resulting screen with the picture of the restaurant and a map next to it. Jorge looked and said “Yes, that’s it.” And off shot Amadeu saying “Follow me.”
Joanie, the Precocious
Standing just inside the Broadway entrance to Macy’s, Joanie waited with one eye on the men’s room door that her dad had disappeared into a minute earlier. But much of her attention drifted to a few adults next to her who were engaged in a lively discussion about where to take lunch. Going into 4th grade at P.S. 69 in the Fall, she could not fathom the basis for the lively and ill informed discussion. Here were these grownups going on and on about the type and location of restaurants that might be available to them – where were they, were they nearby, were they open, how much, what did they serve…
Joanie listened for a moment longer, then reaching far back into here memory to a second grade lesson by Miss Flarity, looked up at the group, and uttered with surprising aplomb “Why don’t you just go to restaurants.nyc. “That’s spelled r-e-s-t-a-u-r-a-n-t-s dot n-y-c” she enunciated character by character. Miss Flarity would have been proud.
I shop at .nyc
When I arrived at Victor’s place he was on the floor with some small tools and his new 3D TV in about 30 parts. Next to him was his ancient laptop showing diagrams for its reassembly. He’d been at this for a few days now as evinced by the clutter of chip bags and pizza crusts scattered about. With the big game a few hours away I became leery of the prospect of watching it on Vic’s new giant screen.
“Hey Vic.” No response. I waited a minute noting that he seemed engrossed with the diagram and getting his 50 inch monitor in working order in time for the Knick’s championship game. As I was preparing to ask again in a louder voice, Victor tuned to me with a look of utter frustration. He explained that he’d purchased the TV from an online discount firm, and that it was located in a former Soviet Republic, that returning it was not an option, and would I please help him get it working.
I told him that my realm of expertise was not within that which lay before us, but that I’d do my best.
Two hours later, with the only visible progress demarcated by the growing field of empty junk food containers, we gave up and decided to head to a local pub to watch the game. On the way over I told Vic why I buy most of my stuff from .nyc sites: about the growing collaboration between city government, the merchants, and residents to improve the reliability of products and services sold using the city’s TLD. As an example, I told him about the faucet I’d ordered on plumbers.nyc, how it and the merchant failed me, and how I was able to call 311 and find the relevant entities supporting the merchant’s operation. And of the positive resolution.
The Model City
Based out of the Queens Museum Panorama exhibition, The Model City is the world’s most sophisticated planning tool. Part a physical model of the city created for the 1964 World’s Fair, part virtual city, part city of things, The Model has enabled city planners to imagine developments on a scope and scale never before possible.
Development of The Model began in earnest in 2011 when planners recognized the utility of the “big screen” effect of the Panorama’s 9335 square foot 3D city model. Applying the newly emerging techniques from the augmented reality world, the detail that emerged from the City of Things initiative – which provided a name and history of every physical object in the city via city databases, neighborhood wikis, and other sources – professional and citizen planners now test their ideas within a time frame and thoroughness never before possible.
Professional planners prefer accessing The Model in person, with civic groups benefiting from the Augmentation Center at the Museum of the Moving Image.
Jimmy’s preparing to leave his Jackson Heights apartment for a two to three hour trip to pick up some Cuban Cigars in Jersey City and pings his parking club that he’ll be departing in 15 minutes. With it promising to be a beautiful Saturday morning, he also tweets his destination to his buds hoping one might be interested in tagging along. A minute later he gets a “25 minutes – Can you wait?” vibe from Tarik, a fellow JH-East parking club member. Packed and ready to go, Jimmy taps “No”. A minute later a second Tarik vibe draws Jimmy’s attention, “I’ve got heavy packages to unload and your space is right in front of my building. It would be really helpful if you’d wait 20 minutes. And since its a Thursday space, I’ll bonus you $10.” While Jimmy’s considering the offer another vibe arrives from club member Gladys, “I’ll be waiting.” Jimmy ponders the options – wait perhaps 15 extra minutes for $10 or leave now and grab the standard $1 casual fee from Gladys.
Just then Mitch, an old friend from Greenwich Village, responds to his tweet saying Jimmy should pick him up on the way. Jimmy’s not seen Mitch for months and tweets “see you soon”. Mitch responds, “Any time after 11.” Seeing a time window open Jimmy taps “Accept” to Tarik and txts Gladys that plans have changed and the space will not be available… See more on Space Wars Vision here.
The Efficient Sharing City
Ken Jordan’s prescient Farewell to Advertising included the following diagram presenting the “Current” marketing paradigm, i.e., 2011, and the “New Configuration” model with its data banking empowering the buyer.
Farewell concluded with…
Once products are connected to people’s actual needs, the entire thrust of messages that marketers send would change. No more need for misleading claims. The tenor of advertising would shift to propositions coming from a place of integrity. At the same time, the rationale for wasteful, flashy packaging is eliminated. (You bought a computer to send email, not to revel in the layers of perfectly sculpted plastic shards that you had to tear out of the box to get at it.) One possible by product of such a system could be that, without society’s relentless call to consume, people might realize that they would be happier with less than they currently possess. Why burden yourself with your own vacuum cleaner, lawn mower, coffee grinder, crock pot, electric heating pad, washing machine, or any of the other myriad contraptions that clutter up the average middle-class American apartment? All it takes is a moment of reflection to realize that each is used for an hour or two a week, if that. Why not pool resources with your neighbors, put the best appliances in a hall closet, give the extras away, and replace the broken ones (they always break) with really good ones meant to last, which are worth repairing and which you would be stretched to buy on your own? At the same time, you get to know your neighbors. Less is more.
The .nyc TLD and the dotNeighborhoods facilitate homophily (birds of a feather connections) and the creation of our less is more city. With the more automated purchasing processes one must wonder about the impact on the miles of retail stores that line our streets.
+ 10 Years
The .nyc Region ( ~ hello Hoboken.nyc)
The .nyc TLD has been active for several years and the sky is blue: the city is humming on the global front; immigrants continue to flow in from around the world; employment is up; the city’s budget is balanced; the schools are educating; and tourism is up.
Across the river, at a Hoboken Merchants Association meeting, some of the members wonder what it will take to benefit from the NYC juggernaut. “How can we get some of those tourists that are flooding the city over here?” Rudy Volcano, the operator of a tony retail store asks. Alfred Alfredo, the operator of Hoboken Global Media, says “Most tourists stay on the city’s digital grid, following paths, activities, and locations using those .nyc domain names. How can we use them and get on the .nyc grid?”
Rudy explains that he looked into getting the Hoboken.nyc domain name but found that it was reserved. Alfred asks, “Reserved, what does that mean?” Rudy said he totally agreed, “If we got it, people would think of us as a part of NYC. That’s the way to get international tourists over here.”
Johann Opengrowth, the Association’s manager said he’d looked into getting the domain name but it required that Hoboken agree to the New York’s consumer affairs regulations. Alfred says, “Johann, how about looking into it and presenting something on it at next month’s meeting.”
When the Internet became available to the public in the mid-1990s, prognosticators imagined the Net fostering a more democratic era. But for two decades little changed in the interface between city residents and their government. While democracy waxed globally, change in the city was limited to quadrennial elections, a gross lever of control that amounted to regime change.
In 2010 a youthful cohort supporting the commons, open source, and wikipedian realms began demanding improved access to information and the governance processes. They wanted access to the city information created with their tax dollars.
A parallel development began to take shape in 2011 when traditional civic organizations, led by the Community Service Society, began to advocate for Net access and training to enable and empower all New Yorkers to create information and become active participants in the new era.
In the ensuing decade, as the old Community Boards and libraries were transformed into the Civic Engagement Chambers, the city witnessed a startling growth of civic engagement. As the traditional roles of libraries, journalism, education, and planning merged, transparency laws melted government information silos and the Chambers facilitated greater public access to decision making levers.
Key to the Chamber’s work is the voter.nyc domain names that enable residents to effectively participate in the governance process. Based on the NYC variant of the Digital Object Architecture, the system enables voters to effectively interject queries and suggestions into the Chamber and have them appraised by fellow residents.