• dotNeighborhoods - March 23, 2010 Meeting Report

last modified January 12, 2011 by tomlowenhaupt

­­­­­­­­­­­Details abou­t the March 23 meeting are presented here.


  (Commons photo courtesy of sporkwrapper.)



































































































































  dotNeighborhoods Initiative

Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 East 11th Street­

­March 23, 2010


  • Thomas Lowenhaupt – Connecting.nyc Inc.

  • Joly MacFie – Secretary of Internet Society NY

  • Jeremy Baron - Wikimedia NYC

  • Steve Bull – Entrepreneur and technologist.

  • Pete Hess – Wikimedia NYC

  • Richard Knipel – Wikimedia NYC

  • Noreen Ellis – The Rockaway Initiative

  • Olaf Bertram-Nothnagel – Lowercase D, a democracy advocacy organization.

While the agenda called for a focus on the dotNeighborhoods Proclamation, meeting conflicts resulted in a shift to the Wikimedia Foundation proposal for a wiki city.

SUMMARY: After discussing the benefits of the wiki technology in aggregating neighborhood information, all agreed that a combined wiki and forum effort might be an effective approach to creating quality content for the dotNeighborhoods.

  • Richard Knipel of Wikimedia New York City spoke for a citywide wiki with portals for neighborhoods. For example, in Harlem there might be sections for environment, education, culture, etc. He leaned toward one larger project, not many small ones as they might not have the needed … Features enabling civic discussions around added resources and topics were also appropriate.
  • Noreen raided the issue about keeping the discussion as informational and civil and avoiding a screaming match.

  • Joly mentioned the public’s involvement as gardeners for the content and discussions has shown itself to be successful. And that rules calling for a neutral point of view were suitable for maintaining a measure of order.

  • Pete Hess stated that Wikipedia had a good governance system using moderators and administrators.

  • Joly mentioned the popularity of local forums, as brought up by a fellow from a previous dotNeighborhoods meeting.

  • Steve Bull said we needed forums to keep the sites dynamic.
  • Richard said Liquid Threads might be an appropriate forum tool - http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:LiquidThreads. And that initially this dotNeighborhoods effort might be run as part of Wikiversity - http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page.
  • Joly mentioned that the market takes care of all sorts of things these days – there’s an app for everything. However, local history is something the neighborhood can present. This is not Wikipedia type info. dotNeighborhoods can be places where people can pool their information.  The depth of local knowledge can be the killer app for dotNeighborhoods.

  • Funding needs were limited at this early stage. Joly suggested approaching a Ford Foundation like entity, or perhaps from .nyc TLD revenue.

  • Tom emphasized that the primary need being filled by dotNeighborhoods is local communication, that there is no central place where neighbors can focus on local issues. But on Transition Day (when we change from the .com Internet to the .nyc net) residents will intuitively turn to their dotNeighborhoods.

  • Noreen Ellis stated that there is not anything central or authoritative available where people can organize themselves in the Rockaways. Seniors need a means to communicate. “We are going to have a Katrina and we need a way to plan.” OEM has been around, but nothing definitive. (Office of Emergency Management.)

  • Steve said High Schools should be engaged with kids identifying local sites important to them. They could enter info in Spanish or other languages.

  • Richard said Wikimedia sponsored a School and University project, with schools contributing to Wikipedia, that might serve as an example.

  • Joly said “I like the wiki idea.” It would be good for preservationists and community generated information.

  • Richard said “by the community for the community.”

  • Steve suggested that it also be used for neighborhood business information. Local businesses need recognition to stay in business. He mentioned a fellow in his neighborhood that has a tailor shop on second floor.

  • Pete – Upper West Side could use this.

  • Richard said a business directory can be put on OpenStreetMap.org, an open source alternative to Google maps.

  • Joly - Wiki and Forums for neighborhoods. Hurricane preparation is an ideal application. “I’m with that.”

  • Joly – Stores can put in their information. “Thoroughly sold on idea.”

  • Noreen said less is more with retail info.

  • Joly offered to start a listserv for dotNeighborhoods. He suggested that we shoot to get this together by April 10 for the ISOC meeting on the .nyc TLD.

  • Tom mentioned Public Advocate and COPIC role in TLD. Joly will invite PA. Tom Cando knows him well. 


  • Joly reported that ISOC-NY is trying to arrange a Saturday April 10 presentation by the applicants for the .nyc TLD. Two entities, CORE and TLD Holdings have agreed to participate. Verisign and NeuStar, two other likely proposers have been contacted.  

  • Steve Bull asked about which cities are currently involved. Tom responded that officially, only Paris, New York City, and Barcelona. But there is a Berlin group that is very active.  Steve suggested a conference on cities and putting a constituency together. Tom mentioned that United Nations University as a possible partner and the Paris Understanding, put together by advocated for Paris, Barcelona, Berlin and New York City in Paris in June 2008 provide a starting point.


The ICANN – As this email goes out, the ICANN - the entity that will issue the .nyc TLD - just completed a meeting in Nairobi where it turned down an Expressions of Interest process that offered some hope of speeding the issuance of new TLDs. Today's best estimate is that ICANN authorizes .nyc in 2011 and .nyc names become active in 2012.

City of New York – The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) assumed the role of the city's governing authority (as described in ICANN's Draft Applicant Guidebook) and issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking an entity to assist it with the .nyc TLD's acquisition. We were delighted that DoITT recognized the advantages of a TLD operating under a Community Model and required, for example, that the neighborhood names be reserved. However…

…the RFP required that responders submit two separate, detailed proposals: One explaining how they would run .nyc following the Standard Model – like .com, .info and .net. And a second describing .nyc's operation following a Community Model - as first proposed by the Internet Empowerment Resolution in 2001. Believing the Standard Model a detriment to the city’s social and economic future, we could not in good faith submit such a proposal. We tried negotiating a joint submission with the operator of a Standard Model TLD, however, as the RFP deadline approached, we were informed by our expected partner that they'd determined their winning $trategy should include the submission of a weak Community Model proposal.

We keep consulting with the public and reaching out to an ever broadening pool of expertise for innovations that might arise from this opportunity, for example, to use .nyc to create a digital grid for the city's infrastructure. (We were recently contacted by Rome which is interested in the Community Model.) We continue to advocate for the Community Model with business, civic, and government leaders here in the city and we remain prepared to serve in any necessary capacity to weave .nyc into a digital grid for a smart ­city.

R E C E N T   B I T.L Y S

The following link to some of our recent activities.
C A L E N D A R 

Connecting.nyc will be represented or presenting at the following:

  • March 8 – Digital Inclusion Summit at Newseum on National Broadband Plan (in D.C.)
  • March 17 – Presentation to the Four Borough Preservation Society
  • March 23 – dotNeighborhoods meeting at Neighborhood Preservation Center
  • April 29 – Internet 2020 at Internet Society meeting in Washington D.C.
  • June 21-26 - ICANN meeting in Brussels
Hope to see you at the dotNeighborhoods meeting on March 23.


Tom Lowenhaupt

Thomas Lowenhaupt, Founder & Chair
Connecting.nyc Inc.
Jackson Hts., NYC 11372
718 639 4222

­draft - dotNeighborhoods Proclamation - draft

New York City’s neighborhoods are latent civic resources. Every New Yorker can name the neighborhood in which they live and describe some of its features. But without good local communication channels, neighborhoods remain little more than identity statements and factors in housing costs.

The arrival of the .nyc Top Level Domain can change that by creating a digital grid of informed and connected neighborhoods with good domain names like Astoria.nyc, BrooklynHeights.nyc, Chelsea.nyc, Dumbo.nyc, EastVillage.nyc, Flushing.nyc, etc.

We can make these "dotNeighborhoods" the center of local civic affairs by empowering them with advanced information and communication technologies. Transformed, these embryonic entities can support the formation of more livable neighborhoods that provide the basis for a robust New York City.

The City Planning Commission publishes a list of 305 neighborhoods on its website. The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) identified these names as resources to be set aside in an October 5, 2009 Request for Proposals. We support this action and urge that the following steps be taken to enable their fruitful development.

  • A Trust for dotNeighborhoods should be created as a not-for-profit corporation.
  • That the Trust have representatives of the city's social and economic diversity on its governance body.
  • That the Trust dedicate itself to the development of digital resources that support neighborhoods with effective publishing, communication, engagement, organizing, and development tools.
  • That the Trust consult with the Offices of the Mayor, Public Advocate, and Controller, the City Council, City Planning Commission, Community Boards, Borough Presidents, and the public and prepare a comprehensive listing of all extant neighborhoods.
  • That these neighborhood names be reserved within the .nyc TLD for their respective dotNeighborhoods.
  • That the Trust establish standards for local entities that are to be granted oversight of their dotNeighborhood domain names.
  • That content standards be set that guide and set a minimum for communication and information needs of the neighborhoods they serve.
  • That technology standards be set for these dotNeighborhoods that assure information sharing between neighborhoods and the broader Internet community.
  • That dotNeighborhood names be issued to responsible and representative governance entities that agree to oversee their operation as local information and communication resources abiding by standards established by the dotNeighborhoods Trust.
  • That the Trust establish accountability standards to assure compliance with agreed upon content and technology standards.
  • That the Trust assures the viability of dotNeighborhood websites through the creation of a city-wide budget and revenue sharing mechanism.