Jackson Hts., New York, May 31, 2013 - New Yorkers select their neighborhoods with care. I chose mine based on its proximity to the big city, the cultural diversity of its residents, and housing prices. One gripe I have is the quality of local communication. For reasons that a include a lack of local TV, radio, and daily newspapers it’s difficult to find out what’s going on around here. I’ll grant that it’s a bit easier today than before the Net arrived, but checking 12 or so digital sites has its own drawbacks.
That’s the reason I’ve looked forward to activating the neighborhood name-set: Astoria.nyc, Harlem.nyc, ConeyIsland.nyc, SoHo.nyc… and my favorite, JacksonHeights.nyc. Imagine, one site that will connect me with my neighbors, local events, civic issues, and opportunities. That’s been a dream of mine since my first days on the local community board (1992).
Paving the road for this, a few years back we entered into a collaboration with Wikimedia-NY and the New York Internet Society to test out the idea, creating the NYCwiki.org. By checking community board registers we identified 352 city neighborhoods and began advocating for the reservation of these “dotNeighborhood” domain names (see our dotNeighborhoods home page).
One of our plan’s limits was financing the operation of all these dotNeighborhoods. While ‘hoods such as SoHo.nyc and GreenwichVillage.nyc have institutions and lots of retail that can generate huge advertising and sponsorship revenues (or so we hope), others are tiny, poor, or lacking sufficient revenue sources. We included some general thoughts in a Trust for dotNeighborhoods plan.
This past week Senator Daniel L. Squadron proposed in a New York Times Op-ed, Can a Tree Grow in the Bronx, a solution to financing maintenance of the city’s parks that seems apropos for the dotNeighborhoods. Here’s the way good senator put it:
How can we level the playing field and help ensure that every neighborhood gets the parks it so desperately needs?
One solution is to provide more financing for parks in the annual city and state budgets.
This can and should be done, but it should be supplemented by an ambitious new program: the creation of a Neighborhood Parks Alliance, which would form partnerships between a well-financed conservancy, a “contributing park” and “member parks” in need of more money and support.
A contributing park would commit 20 percent of its conservancy’s budget to member parks with which it is partnered. A park in need would become a member park by gathering signatures from local residents, establishing its own conservancy group and receiving a city commitment, from the Parks Department and local council members, to maintain current government financing levels.
In addition to money, the “contributing park” conservancies would provide continuing oversight, expertise and programmatic support.
As well, the need for the Alliances adds clarity to the intuitive name set for our city’s parks - trust.park.nyc.
Swapping ‘dotNeighborhood’ for ‘park’ makes this sound like a workable solution to me. Thank you Senator Squadron.