• From DARPA to CARPA

last modified December 22, 2011 by tomlowenhaupt

As we approach the day when New York's TLD will be introduced into the systems and culture of New York City, the need to carefully explore the opportunities and opt­ions for its integration is apparent. Here we present the process for establishing a CARPA Study. (A jerry-built acronym playing off the Pentagon's DARPA, the Defense Applied Research Projects Agency, that funded the Internet's early development - CityARPA.) CARPA will explore ways to integrate the Net into the city's traditional roles with the least disruption and most advantage.


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Disciplines and roles to be represented in the study:

  • anthropologists
  • city planners
  • cognitive scientists
  • economists
  • educators
  • engineers
  • government leaders
  • health officials
  • not-for-profits
  • psychologists
  • residents
  • safety administrators
  • small businesses
  • sociologists
  • transportation administrators

Possible Funding Sources

  • City Government
  • CUNY / SUNY
  • Federal Government - NTIA
  • ICANN
  • Private

Participants

  • City Government
  • City University
  • Civic Organizations

Study Elements

  • Cyber Land-Use Plan
  • Domain Name Allocation Plan
  • Revenue Allocation Plan
  • TLD Governance
­ ­

The Day The DNS Escaped From The Lab

On March 15, 1985 the symbolics.com domain name was issued signifying the release of the domain name system, or DNS, from its protective cocoon. No longer were white coated scientists guiding the Net's development.   

­­I­n comments filed with ICANN on the first draft RFP for New TLDs in December 2008, Connecting.nyc Inc. expressed our delight that, after more than a decade of effort, the Internet’s Domain Name System (“DNS”) would soon expand and provide opportunities for cities to use these important markers.

Our comments reported to ICANN ­that cities are amongst humanity’s oldest and most complex creations, and that while war, famine, drought, disease, and other disasters occasionally destroys one, cities are resilient and have grown in size and complexity for millennia.

We further commented that cities serve a vital role in providing for the safety, health, and education for their residents, and that cities provide identity for their denizens.

Over the past decade the Internet, with its distance and time insensitivity, posed a threat to a fundamental role of cities - networking. But despite the Net’s impressive earth leveling and globalization capabilities, cities have withstood. Indeed, cities even progressed during the Internet’s rise with 2006 finding cities home to more than ½ the earth’s population, with the percentage expected to grow to 2/3 by 2030. However, as we noted in our ICANN comments:

But one m­ight dream of how things might be different had the Internet’s funders and founders visited several global cities and asked and evaluated in preparation for the arrival of packet switching. In t­hat rose-colored world we would have seen a "CARPA" (Cities Advanced Research Project Analysis) send out teams of city planners, economists, sociologists, engineers, cognitive scientists, and psychologists to speak with educators, health officials, safety and transportation administrators, government leaders, and residents to determine how to best create the new telecommunications system that packetization would bring. That didn’t happen and we are coping with Defense Department funded research that, in effect, escaped from the lab and has come to dominate global communication.

But now, with the arrival of city-TLDs - 40 years after the early tinkering with packets, 25 years after the creation of the DNS, and 10 years after ICANN’s founding - we finally have the opportunity to step back and imagine: “There’s this new technology coming, how can we best use it to improve our city?” Granted it’s just the DNS and not the Net’s fundamental architecture, but it’s the only opportunity that’s presented itself and we are determined to make the most of it.

Follow Through 

Integrating the city's traditional operation onto the Net is an ongoing phenomena with thousands of websites and millions of pages about the city and its residents, organizations, sites already on the Net. How well we organize these and the totality of our resources onto the Net might determine the city's competitive position vis a vis other locals here and abroad. Early tasks in planning the CAPRA Study include:

    • Scope
    • Governance
    • Participants
    • Funding 

With CARPA's fact finding complete, public engagement and hearings present the next step toward a thoughtful TLD development policy.

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