• The .nyc TLD's Role in Community Development

last modified August 16, 2011 by tomlowenhaupt

draft - Coming in November 2010 (or later)





















































































A city-TLD can assist with community planning and development at the micro and macro levels. The micro enhancements arise from the availability of domain names and the impact they have on individual causes, projects, and/or the organizations that administer them. The macro refer to the cross organizational and multi-city benefits that will arise through the broad availability of collaboration efforts and tools.

The Micro Level

On the micro level, naming arises when a problem or opportunity has been identified, and a decision made to invest time and effort in support of its denouement. The .nyc TLD will offer several such micro benefits.

  • Good Names - An early organization task requires that a name be selected for the effort. Naming sometimes is a make or brake decision, with a good name being short, descriptive, and memorable. And, in our digital era, the name must be available on the Internet. This “availability” points to an important aspect of our commitment to operate the .nyc TLD in the public interest.
  • We view the pool of .nyc domain names as a limited resource that must serve our city’s civic interests for the duration of the Internet era – whatever the time span that might cover. To preserve this names resource, we will develop policies that encourage their use in a fruitful manner. Policies under consideration focus on pricing, transfer restrictions, and encouraging the recycling of names.
  • Identity - Naming provides identity to an organization, project, or cause. A name confirms existence and proclaims an intention or goal to the world. The name differentiates the project or organization from others, enabling society to treat and deal with the project, cause, or organization as independent or different from others. And through the name, the cause, project, or organization becomes part of history, with its deeds existing separately from the deeds of others.
  • Findability & Accessibility – A good domain name serves an important marketing role, making the entity it creates findable and accessible on the Net. Whether it be through direct recall of a good domain name and entering it into the address bar, or locating one using an Internet search engine, the .nyc TLD will facilitate resident-to-entity communication. Search engines especially will hone in on domain names ending in .nyc. For example, once .nyc is activated, doing a google search such as “park preservation in New York City” will result in Google favorably listing websites ending with .nyc - “above the crease.”
  • Intuition – With a well managed pool of names and our city’s limited population and geographic area, we expect that people will eventually return to “guessing” domain names. While today one might directly enter www.ibm.com or www.coke.com into a browsers address bar and expect success, tomorrow, people will start relying on intuition and guess that planning-tools.nyc will take one to a desired resource. Intuitive design will also play a role in encouraging searches for portals of the likes of parks.nyc, bike-lanes.nyc, or Astoria.nyc (see Civic Portals below).
  • Internet of Things - ­Soon there will be an Internet domain name for every object in the public sphere: every billboard, building, buss, buss schedule, database, fire hydrant, park, street, tree... This Internet of Things facilitate the identification, networking, and development of the coming City of Things. Universal tagging of city resources and the creation of a programmer-friendly city are two benefits that arise with the Internt of Things.

    The Macro Level

     While the micro level enhancements will inch into our consciousness as each new community issue and organization chooses a .nyc name; and as a transition from various .org, .com, .us, and .net domains to the “homeland” .nyc TLD (as aided by our Civic Name Set-Aside Project); other macro level benefits will be realized through the thoughtful planning and development of our city’s TLD.

    • Civic Portals – The introduction of the .nyc TLD will provide various portals that will assist residents and organizations locate resources of benefit in the civic realm. These portals will be intuitive names that link to organizations and tools that assist with an indicated concern or issue. For example, civic-calendars.nyc might provide information about events and opportunities, and volunteers.nyc might provide a place to find and offer one’s time. Neighborhood portals, such as Chelsea.nyc, might provide focused sites for identifying and organizing around local issues.
    • Search Engine Transparency – Whether one is searching the Net for a civic issue or developments surrounding a local election, the trustworthiness of the responses is vital. The .nyc TLD will promote search engine assessment via transparent heuristics.
    • Global Cooperation – New York City will be in the first group of global cities receiving their TLDs, along with Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, and Venice. Evolving from our roots as a public interest TLD, we have joined these cities in a global effort, through a document names the Paris Understanding, to share best practices in developing our TLDs, and more broadly, activities that promote the general livability of our cities. For example, the growing awareness and acceptance of global warming and the sustainability of cities vs. the suburban or rural lifestyles provides a huge area for cooperation.
    • Collaboration - Today dozens, perhaps hundreds, of organizations are working on civic projects aimed to improve our parks, waters, traffic, housing, and to address other issues. A well organized .nyc TLD, with intuitively named civic portals with links to resources and tools – e.g., blogs, calendars, decision support, listserves, maps, petitions, polls, social networks, wikis, etc. - will facilitate public engagement and cooperation within the civic sector. 

       Collaborative Technologies of Benefit to Community Development


      Benefits & Solutions


      Enable quick communication to and between residents about events that have or will take place.


      Making sure everyone can learn about meetings and coordinate scheduling of civic meeting.

      Decision Support

      Software that will allow information sharing, discussion, and decision-making will enable residents to participate in local activities in a timely manner and encourage engagement and participation in community affairs.


      Email notices about issues of local concern.


      Letting people become part of the discussion and kept up to date via emails.


      Envisioning the location of a problem or opportunity and engaging in intelligent discussion centered on a specific locations will reduce clutter in civic affairs and encourage participation.


      Gauging the level of community support for an idea can be facilitated through online petitions.


      Determining which of many options can be a time consuming task that frequently discourages participation. Polls can enable preference and comment on options.

      Civid Networks

      Civic networks modeled on Facebook or MySpace will enable rapid identification and collaboration around issues.


      Inexpensive, 24 hour, accessible information spaces for organizations and issues.


      Collaboration and construction of ideas and plans will be more transparent and accessible, encouraging participation and trust of civic participants.


      • Shrink Digital Divide – As a public interest TLD, we have committed a portion of funds received from name fees and other sources to facilitate the provision of civic collaboration tools, education, training and eradicating digital divides.
      With the foundation of an effective .nyc TLD based in transparency, accountability, and public participation one might hope, and indeed expect, that an engaged public will transform the Internet’s capabilities into city resources of types and manner yet unimagined.

        Finally, imagine an event similar to the February 17, 2009 transition from analog to digital TV – one that our not for profit civic sector might sponsor to celebrate the city’s movement into the Internet’s digital era with the activation of the .nyc TLD. It might provide a huge boost for our civic culture.  

        Key .nyc Pages