• Towards City-TLDs in the Public Interest - A White Paper

last modified November 6, 2013 by tomlowenhaupt

­­­By Michael Gurstein & Thomas Lowenhaupt (Version 1.0, July 2007)


Toward a Comprehensive Review Process


We advocate a four step TLD planning process.
    1. The July 2007 Toward City-TLDs in the Public Interest - A White Paper was the first.
    2. The second is what we've nicknames the CARPA Study, a multi-sector scoping of how we organize the totality of our city's resources within a more localized Net.
    3. The next and most important step is a ULURP-like review enabling users and the public to ponder and comment on the issues raised by CARPA. 
    4. Finally, an application should be assembled, approved by the stakeholders, and submitted to the ICANN.

Keep in mind that there's no deadline for completing these steps. No one will snatch .nyc from our city. It will be assigned once we complete and submit a consensus document that demonstrates respect for all stakeholders.

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Appendix 1

Global Cities

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The following list of Global Cities was compiled from Research Bulletin #5, 1999 and Research Bulletin #146, 2004 of the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) at Loughborough University. The GaWC cities were selected on size, diversity, economic, cultural, and political linkages, and the availability of advanced globalization services such as accountancy, advertising, finance and law by international corporations. The GaWC inventories identified a group of global cities and several sub groups exhibiting some characteristics of global (sometimes referred to as world) cities. The following listing consolidates cities from Research Bulletins #5 and #146 and adds ICANN region identification, as follows: Europe (1); Asia/Australia/Pacific (2); Latin America/Caribbean islands (3); Africa (4); North America (5). 

Abidjan (4)

Addis Ababa (4)

Amsterdam (1)

Atlanta (5)

Bangkok (2)

Barcelona (1)

Basle (1)

Beijing (2)

Berlin (1)

Boston (5)

Brussels (1)

Budapest (1)

Buenos Aires (3)

Cairo (4)

Caracas (3)

Chicago (5)

Copenhagen (1)

Dallas (5)

Denver (5)

Düsseldorf (1)

Frankfurt (1)

Geneva (1)

Glasgow (1)

Hamburg (1)

Harare (4)

Hong Kong (2)

Houston (5)

Istanbul (2)

Jakarta (2)

Johannesburg (4)

Kuala Lumpur (2)

London (1)

Los Angeles (5)

Lyon (1)

Madrid (1)

Manila (2)

Mexico City (3)

Miami (5)

Milan (1)

Minneapolis (5)

Melbourne (2)

Montreal (5)

Moscow (1)

Mumbai (2)

Munich (1)

New Delhi (2)

New York (5)

Osaka (2)

Oslo (1)

Ottawa (5)

Paris (1)

Prague (1)

Rome (1)

San Francisco (5)

Santiago (3)

Sao Paulo (3)

Seoul (2)

Shanghai (2)

Singapore (2)

Stockholm (1)

Sydney (2)

Taipei (2)

Tokyo (2)

Toronto (5)

Vienna (1)

Washington (5)

Warsaw (1)

Zurich (1)

Additionally identified by the GaWC Bulletin #5 were a group of cities exhibiting evidence of formation of global cities characteristics. Some exhibited strong evidence: Athens (1), Auckland (2), Dublin (1), Helsinki (1), Luxembourg (1), Philadelphia (5), Rio de Janeiro (3), and Tel Aviv (2). Others showed some evidence: Abu Dhabi (4), Almaty (2), Birmingham (UK) (1), Bogotá (3), Bratislava (1), Brisbane (2), Bucharest (1), Cleveland (5), Cologne (1), Detroit (5), Dubai (2), Ho Chi Minh City (2), Kiev (2), Lima (3), Lisbon (1), Manchester (1), Montevideo (3), Riyadh (2), Rotterdam (1), Seattle (5), Strasbourg (1), Stuttgart (1), The Hague (1), and Vancouver (5). And finally, it identified a group of cities with minimal evidence: Adelaide (2), Antwerp (1), Aarhus (1), Baltimore (5), Bangalore (2), Bologna (1), Brasília (3), Calgary (5), Cape Town (4), Colombo (2), Columbus (5), Dresden (1) , Edinburgh (1), Genoa (1), Gothenburg (1), Guangzhou (2), Hanoi (2), Kansas City (5), Leeds (1), Lille (1), Marseille (1), Richmond (5), St. Petersburg (2), Tashkent (2), Tehran (2), Tijuana (3), Turin (1), Utrecht (1), and Wellington (2).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


The Internet’s impact on cities grows daily as it electronically enables the meeting, movement, and exchange of people, ideas, products, and cultures at a range and frequency never before possible, creating what Marshall McLuhan called the “global village”.

This paper looks at certain of the effects that the emergence of this global village has had on cities and explores ways that one significant element of the Internet can be remolded to support the traditional and progressive role of the city: as the ambiance for creativity and innovation, the fountainhead of progressive movements, the cauldron for the creation of culture and cultural related employment, and the ultimate stage for self expression and re-invention.

Our look at cities and the Internet takes place at an historic moment, for mid-2007 is projected to be the transition point when for the first time a majority of the global population will be city dwellers. Of these, the 50 largest cities include some 10% of the world’s population with the 10 largest cities each having a greater population than 113 of the United Nations’ 192 member states.

And amidst all this, in an era noted for globalization in populations, trade, and markets, the world’s global cities, those central enablers of the globalization processes with their diverse populations and international linkages, have no direct and visible presence at the highest level Internet space, as Top Level Domains or TLDs.

Yet in the most local or global of interactions there is frequently a need for providing a visible electronic means for specifying identification and location. This is the process of electronic “naming” i.e. the creation and use of Internet TLDs as a unique identifier for global cities and their resources.

Global City TLD’s in the Public Interest

We argue for the creation of a category of TLD’s to respond to the needs of Global Cities[1] (GC TLDs) following the pattern set for country level TLDs, i.e. with the management and overall goal of these TLD’s being to operate in and support the broader public good. In this we distinguish GC TLD’s from those that are managed to support one or another commercial, institutional, or sectional interest. What this would mean in the context of the Global City TLD would be that the management of the TLDs would follow general principles of good governance[2]:

  • Transparency: bringing visibility to the management and operation of the service
  • Effectiveness and Efficiency: enabling optimal use of resources for the delivery of services
  • Participation: empowering citizens to legally control the service delivery to their advantage
  • Equity: providing to citizens the service on an equal basis
  • Rule of Law: ensuring that the laws and regulations governing the service are applied in an impartial way
  • Accountability: creating standards against which the individuals providing the service and the service delivery can be held accountable
  • Responsiveness: serving all citizens in a consistent and predictable way
  • Consensus Orientation: proceeding with the management and operation of the service within overall principles of consensus decision making among stakeholders, and, in the instance of GC-TLDs, collaborating with residents, local government, and other organizations.
Brief History of TLDs

Let’s begin with a quick look at the Internet’s inside and outside. Inside the Internet one finds the Transmission Control Program/Internet Protocol suite (TCP/IP) that provides the basis for its global reach and efficient and effective operation. TCP/IP is a protocol or code which breaks down emails, songs, pictures, and videos into digital pieces - bytes - transports them over a shared network, then delivers and reassembles them at the desired destination. Its fundamental design principles provide robust capabilities at an economical price.

The outside, visible part of the Internet, the part which gives a name to the data and facilitates identifying and moving the bits through the system is the Domain Name System, or DNS. The DNS enables the substitution of more readable and memorable letters for the telephone-like numbers that constitute the actual Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. So, instead of having to remember a string of IP numbers to send a message from one computer to another computer, the DNS provides for near-instant translations between 64.12.50.151 and aol.com or between finance.yahoo.com and 68.142.196.87.

The DNS’s selection rules allow for each “name” to have two or more parts (technically “labels” but commonly called levels), separated by dots. For example, in finance.yahoo.com, the rightmost label “com” is the top-level domain (or TLD). Reading from right to left, the “yahoo” is a second level domain, “finance”, third level, etc. A domain name can have over a 100 levels with the key limitation being that no name can have more than a total of 255 alpha--numeric characters.

The Domain Name System was invented in 1983 at a time when the Internet’s funding came exclusively from the US Defense Department’s research agency (DARPA). In October 1984, RFC 920 specified the initial global TLDs as .gov, .edu, .com, .mil, .org and described a system of two character country codes, with the first, .us, issued in February 1985. (An RFC, or Requests for Comment, is typically a technical document that details an Internet standard.)

It is helpful to realize that there were perhaps 1,500 hosts connected to the Internet in 1984 and that the authors of RFC 920 could hardly imagine that their early ponderings would come to be “the global network” with hundreds of millions and soon billions of users and associated computers. Indeed, the authors saw the role of the .com TLD as connecting university researchers with the research departments of defense contractors. Within this context it is easy to imagine why cities and other significant social/organizational entities were overlooked.

Nevertheless, through the TLD framework the Internet pioneers were able to accomplish a near miracle, designing a global and interactive communications system that could more or less seamlessly meet the world’s digital communication needs for over a quarter of a century with few technical hitches and little requirement for major change or adjustment.

The Net Impact

Over the past decade, the Internet’s impact on cities has been rapid and diverse. While economic and education barriers in the US have recently slowed the pace of Internet penetration and use within some demographics and sectors, overall it would appear that its impact on cities, as on other institutional and governance frameworks, has been positive. By speeding up and extending the range and opportunity for exchange of ideas and commerce and by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness with which information is managed, disseminated, and applied; the net has benefited us all.

However, the net’s impact on communication and information flow at the local level during this period has been of growing concern to people in major cities such as Berlin, Paris, and New York who are seeing the possibility of long term negative effects arising within their complex metropolitan environments from their current lack of formal electronic recognition.

They observe that most of people’s lives are lived locally and in contact with their immediate neighbors This is particularly the case for local commerce and local governance where there is an immediate impact on people’s daily interactions as compared to interactions with more distant regional, national, and global entities.

They worry about the impact a global communication system might have on the traditional aggregation and networking roles of cities. They speculate about a lack of foresight in planning for this technology similar to that which occurred when the Model T Ford first rolled into early 20th century American urban areas and by mid-century had resulted in the razing of miles of inner cities to make room for highways. Fearing a parallel set of impacts from the Internet’s globalizing technology, they propose a simple precautionary action in the form of Global City-TLDs operated in the public interest.

Absent specific processes for the high level naming of city TLDs, small signs of negative effects are beginning to appear. These arise from two directions: from the ways the Internet’s global reach has substituted global and electronic activities for local (and physically embedded) ones; and from the disappearance (or invisibility) of the city as a primary locale within which a range of social, cultural, commercial, and political activities are enacted[3].

Proximity & Networking

If we explore the Internet’s early impact on the first of these, the substitution element, we can observe the net eroding a number of the traditional roles of cities. While for many, the impacts discussed below might be perceived as benefits, the difficulty arises when these are seen in the aggregate where, through the combination of multiple small dislocations, the overall and positive historical role of cities is eroded. Among the areas where the Internet has had an impact on cities are the following:

  • A traditional advantage of cities was proximity; it enabled face to face exchanges which fueled the development of new ideas, new relationships, new products. Pre-Internet, the large numbers of city residents and their proximity would result in people and ideas connecting through various in-person social and business contacts. Today’s Internet globally unites ideas and people around the most arcane subjects eliminating the necessity of traveling to the city to find those with similar interests.
  • Pre-Internet, when a Catholic had a question about a religious issue, s/he might seek out the advice of a local priest, knowledgeable friend, or colleague. With the Internet it is now possible to access the Catechism of the Catholic Church directly through the Vatican’s website at vatican.va. There’s no need to walk down the street to visit the local church (or synagogue or mosque) as local views and expertise have been replaced by “direct” access to unitary global “authority”.
  • Today, when someone loses interest in a physical object, s/he can readily sell it on eBay. No need to bother lugging it to the PTA’s fundraiser. EBay’s global network provides cash in hand and reduces the significance of local markets.
  • It used to be that the demands of a city’s large population would draw products from around the world into a market. Today’s Internet is a global marketplace that makes even unique items readily locatable. No need to travel to the city for specialty shopping.
  • The opportunities (and occasional risks) which arise from eye to eye neighborly contact are increasingly being replaced by the anonymous exchange of digital profiles and the instantaneous flow of words and images to any place on the globe. No need to travel to the city to meet Mr. Right.

While each of the above clearly provides an “advantage,” they can also be seen as detracting from the city’s traditional role and thus in some respects “hollowing out” the overall beneficial influences which cities have and continue to offer. Meanwhile for many, particularly those who are physically, technically, economically, or emotionally unable or unwilling to transfer these types of activities into the electronic environment, cities must continue to provide these vital if now challenged and attenuated opportunities.

Global Cities: Needles in the Internet’s Haystacks

A second impact arises from the Internet’s immense size. Let’s look for a moment at the problems associated with locating the resources of a global city like New York. For example:

  • think of New York’s 400 hotels that service the increasingly important tourist sector. Without its own TLD these 400 hotels are lost in the 37,200,000 results that a Google search for “Hotels in New York City” provided on May 11, 2007. Not only is locating a desirable hotel difficult, but directly accessing its resources can be a challenge. While the forest of intermediaries one encounters sometimes provide valuable assistance, too frequently their privately sponsored directories, with their varying degrees of accuracy, self-interest, and bias, hinder direct access to a hotel’s website. And while seeming “free,” the cost of these intermediaries is present, if often hidden, in the bill at check out time.
  • or imagine parents mulling over a job offer in New York City, and doing a Yahoo search for “good schools in New York City.” How long might it take to review the 59,400,000 search results?
  • similarly, “Hospitals in New York City” presents 44,600,000 results. Might there be a better way to support those who are looking to the Internet to assist in gaining information in this most basic area?

Some argue that the search engine (e.g., Google) has supplanted the need for TLDs overall. And indeed there are times when accurate search results are presented in a near miraculous manner. But intuitive directory-like pages such as www.hotels.nyc, www.schools.nyc, and www.hospitals.nyc could provide a means for introducing a measure of local expertise and control while presenting a city’s resources to the world. One day these needs might be obviated by improved search engines, but even then it seems evident that effective information handling and decision making on contentious issues such as local elections will necessitate an intuitive and searchable geographically embedded naming structure.

In summary, whether it is the “hidden in plain sight” obscurity within a billion websites or having the Internet’s global reach supplanting the city’s traditional proximity role, there are now two identified areas where the net is having unplanned impacts. If history is a guide, others will make themselves known with time.

Digital Housing for Homeless Cities

So where are global cities like New York, London, Paris, Mumbai, or Tokyo to be found on the Internet? With their resources scattered over the .com, .net, .biz, .info, .org, and 250+ other TLDs, and presented through the prism of legions of privately sponsored intermediary directories with varying in-built degrees of self-interest and bias – these most important of contemporary geo-physical structurings are nowhere to be found. Their people, ideas, cultures, and products are scattered everywhere via an electronic diaspora but the cities themselves are electronically invisible. Without an address, cities on the Internet are homeless and, like a fog, everywhere present but lacking substance and form.

To make global cities “real” again in the electronic age, the first thing that’s needed is a piece of electronic “land”, with an address, that provides these cities with the same opportunity to occupy and be found in electronic space as they have in physical space. In Internet terms this would be through the allocation to these cities of top level domains or TLDs. Think of it this way: once such a city has an address (a TLD) it can print stationary, send out invitations, and invite friends and family over for a festival.nyc. Once people come on over, they will see that it’s a nice place to visit and soon they and their friends and neighbors will be settling. If established in an organized and intuitive way, in collaboration with local residents, government, and other organizations, and using web 2.0 features like community page ranking, neighbor will find neighbor and people from outside the region will readily find the city’s resources.

While our argument so far might lead one to conclude that there is a significant advantage for global city-TLDs, let’s review the experiences of other cities and public interest TLDs before presenting any conclusions.

Current “Cities” on the Internet

There are two locations where “cities” might now be said to officially exist on the Internet: the “localities” areas outlined by the RFC 1480 standards document, and in the experiences of Hong Kong and Singapore, city-like entities which have used two character country codes for nearly two decades.

The RFC 1480 guidelines were issued in 1993 by the IETF, a developer of the Internet’s standards, using the .us TLD to explain how other country code operators might provide electronic names/locations for cities. These guidelines suggested two ways cities might list their resources: using 4th and 5th level names under the city (3rd level); state (2nd level) and country (Top Level), e.g. Hilton.hotels.New-York-City.ny.us; or under a CI (city identifier), as in Tilden-High.schools.CI.New-York-City.ny.us. Not surprisingly, these have been rarely used as the invisibility and difficulty of remembering fourth and fifth level names made even barely memorable and pronounceable .com names more inviting.

Demonstrating an instance of 1480’s failure and the Internet’s fog is New York’s city government: the office of the mayor found a home in the .gov TLD and the city council exists partially in .us and partially in .info TLDs. In this context, little use is made of either of the 1480 locations.

In the instance of Hong Kong (.hk) and Singapore (.sg), both have used the two character country codes issued to nation-states and other geographic entities since 1990 and 1988 respectively. Viewed by size, demographic makeup, and role, they closely resemble global cities like New York, Paris, London, and Mumbai. Both TLDs grew piecemeal from their early administrations under university technology departments and initially adopted what might be called the Modified American Model (MAM), using .com, .net, .org, .gov, and .edu as second level domains. So for example, a retail store would have to use www.store-name.com.sg, not www.store-name.sg.

Since Singapore began selling second level names to local individuals and companies in 2005, sales have been brisk (see chart below). However, legacy registrations from earlier distribution policies have resulted in Singapore’s older and larger firms, e.g., Singapore Airlines, continuing to use global .com TLDs.

“The Second & Third Level Name Registrations in Singapore” chart (see Appendix 2) presents Singapore’s early experience with the MAM and the early results of its opening up the second level domain space. Note the changes that began in January 2005 when second level domains first became available: the total number of TLDs nearly doubled in the 28 months from the inception of the second level .sg registrations, with 2/3s of the new registrations being second level names. This experience shows a high level of interest by local residents in the identity, clarity, and simplicity offered by good local domain names.

Benefits of GC-TLD

A Global City-TLD can provide many advantages to a city’s residents. But one need only look at the operation of country codes like .TV (Tuvalu) and .LA (Laos) to see that the mere assignment of a TLD does not guarantee benefits to its presumed constituents. In both of these instances the TLDs commercialized home page provides nary a link to the designated countries. Here below, we examine the benefits that arise with the development of a TLD planned in private-public collaboration, and controlled, and managed by a city’s multiple stakeholders, a public interest GC-TLD.

Public Interest TLD Experiences

The public interest is central to policy debates, politics, democracy and the nature of government itself with a traditional meaning of "common well-being" or "general welfare." We examined the experiences of .org, one of the original global TLDs operated as a public interest TLD. Like most of the .orgs under its umbrella, the operator of .org, Public Interest Registry (PIR), is a registered nonprofit working for positive change. PIR “uses its resources to expand Internet access around the world, particularly in developing areas, and to promote growth of the Internet and its capabilities.” (http://www.pir.org/AboutPIR/AboutPIR.aspx)

But .org’s operation is global and there appears to be little capacity to effectively coordinate its registrants. As a result, the .org TLD is plagued with the same set of problems: spam, phishing, Internet fraud etc., that face other global TLDs such as .com and .net. With a much more limited physical footprint and a significant opportunity for face to face interaction, and by including the (hoped for) cooperation with the city’s existing institutions and licensing mechanisms, it is anticipated that these hazards can be moderated for a public interest GC-TLD.

Benefits of Public Interest Global City-TLD

While public interest TLDs can be developed to address a variety of issue areas or regional geographic entities, our focus here is on TLDs developed to serve the public interest of Global Cities. We focus on Global Cities, those with very large populations and many international links that have begun to experience the impact of substitution and electronic invisibility. This is not to say that smaller cities might not benefit from the use of TLDs, but for now, without evidence to the contrary, we will presume that, especially in small cities, the smaller the size the less the impact of the globalization effects of the Internet identified above.

Properly planned and executed, many benefits will arise with the development of a public interest GC-TLD as for example:

  • Good Domain Names - If issued equitably and at affordable rates, a public interest GC-TLD will facilitate the fundamental benefit that derives from a new TLD, that is, good names, those that are short, descriptive, and memorable.
  • Equitable Distribution of Domain Names – A public interest GC-TLD can establish allocation policies that avoid pitfalls such as hoarding and typo-squatting. Policy decisions can be made on price and nexus requirements (a legal term indicating a required city connection such as a residency or operating a business), and can reserve domain names for unbiased public interest directories, government, civic, and issue usage.
  • Affordable Domain Names – By eliminating the profit requirement, public interest GC-TLDs can keep prices low and set rates that maximize community benefit. It can provide affordable names for the young entering the business world, for the community and civic worlds, for recent immigrants, small businesses, and for use in the public realm. Where appropriate and feasible, a GC-TLD operated in the public interest can provide free names to individuals, organizations, start-ups, etc.
  • Name Set-Asides - With an improved community a key part of its mission, a public interest GC-TLD can set aside second level names for neighborhoods or civic benefit activities and issues, e.g., “www.elections.nyc” or “www.sante.paris” Also, it can experiment with allocation plans that facilitate shared name usage for civic, community, and issues. e.g., developing a reusable public access name bank that facilitates a time-based allocation of names like “www.save-the-tree.nyc.”
  • The New Proximity – While the Internet excels by connecting on a global scale, a public interest GC-TLD can establish discussion, issue, geographic, and opportunity name spaces where residents can locate one another. Combining the Internet’s global reach and local face-to-face contacts will optimize the exchange of ideas and revivify the traditional role of cities.
  • Civic Tools for Collaboration – The New Proximity will be facilitated by making available public access civic tools such as calendars, maps, listserves, polling, and organizers. These may be adapted from those currently providing web widgets such as Google or custom developed if needed.
  • More Secure Experience – With a focus on a limited and fixed geographic area, a nexus requirement for acquiring a city domain name (i.e., a demonstrated residency or business interest in the city), and working in close cooperation with the extant institutions, public interest GC-TLD operators can approximate the expectation and experience found with TLDs such as .gov and .edu.
  • Unbiased Directories – A public interest TLD can create directories of selected second level domain names like www.hotels.nyc and www.schools.nyc, making city resources far more accessible. For example, a carefully designed and managed www.hotels.nyc directory would provide global access to a small directory page presenting the city’s hotels using alpha and geographic links to sites of the hotel’s choice. Or a directory might make a city’s schools accessible by organizing them by public vs. private, and primary, secondary, and university.
  • Intuitive Design - A well planned and organized TLD will be intuitive and provide confidence that “guesses” will be effective. For example, today one might imagine success by directly entering www.ibm.com or www.coke.com into a browsers address space. With a fresh GC-TLD name space residents might presume that the entry www.jacquescafe.paris would reach its target. Intuitive design will also play a role in encouraging directory searches of the likes of www.bookstores.london or www.restaurants.nyc.
  • Search Engine Transparency – Whether one is searching for a hotel or issues surrounding a local election, the trustworthiness of the responses is vital. Developers of GC-TLDs will find advantage by presenting search engines with transparent heuristics.
  • Identity – While any city-TLD will say for example, Made in Berlin or From Mumbai, a GC-TLD operated in the public interest will assure the long term preservation of the TLD as a symbol of a city’s character. And with public participation in its design and development, it will provide that point of civic pride around which a population will rally to protect its brand.
  • Shrink Digital Divide – A public interest GC-TLD could (and should be expected to) commit a portion of funds received from name sales and other sources to facilitate the provision of civic collaboration tools, education, training and eradicating digital divides.

Additionally, the growing awareness and acceptance of global warming and the sustainability of cities vs. the suburban or rural lifestyles provides a further justification for arming cities with the most modern of technologies.

Finally, with the foundation of an effective public interest GC-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 yet unimagined.

Conclusion

While the serendipitous and rapid development of the Internet precluded most global cities from enjoying the first fruits of this technological wonder, no technical, legal, or other restraint precludes the current issuance of TLDs to these cities. Indeed, the ICANN, the California not-for-profit charged by the U.S. Department of Commerce with issuing additional TLDs, gained valuable experience through recently issued geo-TLDs - .eu and .asia – and is preparing a Request for Proposals for additional TLDs for expected release in late 2007. Parties from Berlin, New York, and Paris have stepped forward to indicate their intention of applying for city specific TLDs.

If global cities like Berlin, London, New York, Paris, Mumbai, or Tokyo are to create a space for civic organization and conversation, they require a TLD and a governance structure that encourages and enables public engagement in their deliberations and decision making.

Through using open and transparent governance processes that engage all stakeholders the equitable allocation of names can be achieved within the scope of meeting basic name space needs, resource organization, and presentation. Beyond the melioration of the global village impacts, a TLD can help global cities optimize local resources for coordinating global markets and in turn help cities to meet the needs of efficient and effective resource distribution and the needs of their populations in the coming years.

Engagement

The initial release of this document was published on Connecting.nyc Inc.’s wiki at www.connectingnyc.openplans.org. We invite comments there or they may be emailed to Thomas Lowenhaupt at TomL@communisphere.com.

Bibliography

City Populations, http://www.citypopulation.de/World.html.

DNS History, http://www.livinginternet.com/i/iw_dns_history.htm.

History of DNS http://www.byte.org/one-history-of-dns.pdf.

IANA, Index of Country Code TLDs, http://www.iana.org/root-whois/index.html.

Nation-state Size, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UN_Members.

RFC-881, Postel, J., "The Domain Names Plan and Schedule", USC Information Sciences Institute, November 1983.

RFC-882, Mockapetris, P., "Domain Names - Concepts and Facilities", USC Information Sciences Institute, November 1983.

RFC-883, Mockapetris, P., "Domain Names - Implementation and Specification", USC Information Sciences Institute, November 1983.

RFC-897, Postel, J., "Domain Name System Implementation Schedule", USC Information Sciences Institute, February 1984.

RFC-920, Postel, J., Specified initial TLDs - .com, .gov, .edu, .arpa, .org, October 1984.

RFC-920, Consensus Comment, http://www1.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/ietf/current/msg35909.html.

RFC-1480, On the Design of the .us TLD, http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1480.html.

RFC-1994, Domain Name Structure - http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1591.html.

Saskia Sassen, The Global City, 1991.

Saskia Sassen, The global city: strategic site/new frontier, http://www.india-seminar.com/2001/503/503%20saskia%20sassen.htm.

Saskia Sassen, Global Cities And Diasporic Networks: Microsites In Global Civil Society, http://transnationalism.uchicago.edu/Diasporic%20Network.pdf.

Urban Population Exceeds Rural as of May 23, 2007, http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/2007/may/104.html.

About the Authors

Dr. Michael Gurstein is perhaps best known for his work in developing the conceptual and organizational foundations for the emerging discipline of Community Informatics. He is currently the Executive Director of the Centre for Community Informatics Research, Development and Training in Vancouver Canada; a Director of The Information Society Institute, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town South Africa; and a Research Professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark NJ. In 2006 he was selected to be on the High Level Panel of Advisors of the UN's Global Alliance for Information, Communications, and Technology and Development. A Canadian, Dr. Gurstein completed a B.A. at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge .He has advised and consulted with a number of UN agencies, and Departments and agencies of the Canadian, US, and Australian governments. Dr. Gurstein has also served on the Board of the Vancouver Community Network, the British Columbia Community Networking Association, Telecommunities Canada, and is currently on the Steering Committee of the Telecentres of the Americas Partnership. <gurstein@gmail.com>

Thomas Lowenhaupt currently directs Connecting.nyc Inc, the not-for-profit New York based corporation created to acquire and develop the .nyc TLD. As a member of New York City’s Queens Community Board 3, he developed the Internet Empowerment Resolution that recommended the acquisition of the .nyc TLD in April 2001. His involvement with interactive technologies began in the late 1970’s and has included assistance to firms in the cable, banking, marketing, and telecommunications industries. He has organized conferences on community empowerment technologies, and in early 2000's he co-hosted a weekly radio show on community governance. He worked as a transportation planner prior to beginning an involvement with information technologies. His involvement with civic affairs has included president of the Charles Street Association, co-founder of the Friends of the Renaissance School, member of Queens Community Board 3, New Media Advisory Committee of LaGuardia Community College, and other board positions. He received a B.A. in government studies from Queens College (NYC) and an advanced degree from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program. <TomL@communisphere.com>  


 

Appendix 2

Second & Third Level Name Registrations in Singapore

Month/Category

.sg

.com.sg

.org.sg

.net.sg

.edu.sg

.gov.sg

.per.sg

Total

Jun 04

-

34622

1719

141

304

362

1290

38438

Jul 04

-

35010

1745

146

320

364

1240

38825

Aug 04

-

35449

1760

152

332

375

1256

39324

Sep 04

-

35962

1787

157

336

377

1254

39873

Oct 04

-

36436

1807

160

344

383

1259

40389

Nov 04

-

36842

1824

164

346

385

1252

40813

Dec 04

-

37058

1841

160

349

387

1249

41044

Jan 05

7986

37354

1863

163

354

392

1247

49359

Feb 05

8389

37569

1875

166

365

396

1242

50002

Mar 05

8728

37935

1891

170

371

393

1231

50719

Apr 05

9010

38307

1900

164

375

389

1226

51371

May 05

9310

38595

1901

161

381

389

1216

51953

Jun 05

9625

38848

1909

163

384

393

1205

52525

Jul 05

9872

39083

1908

165

386

389

1147

52950

Aug 05

10201

39392

1919

165

388

397

1127

53589

Sep 05

10951

39708

1930

167

392

399

1099

54646

Oct 05

11782

40170

1954

169

402

404

1073

55954

Nov 05

12482

40454

1941

165

404

406

1048

56900

Dec 05

13132

40778

1959

167

405

408

1034

57883

Jan 06

13802

40990

1967

170

413

408

1024

58774

Feb 06

14560

41309

1997

170

421

411

1024

59892

Mar 06

14653

41947

2012

168

421

411

1008

60620

Apr 06

15442

42466

2016

172

426

408

1000

61930

May 06

16318

42903

2017

173

429

407

999

63246

Jun 06

17049

43274

2032

178

431

409

989

64369

Jul 06

17862

43722

2042

178

438

412

943

65597

Aug 06

18777

44265

2055

177

441

414

922

67051

Sep 06

19845

44811

2070

180

446

419

908

68679

Oct 06

20938

45414

2082

183

455

418

895

70385

Nov 06

21605

46158

2091

180

461

417

884

71796

Dec 06

22019

46668

2108

179

467

422

873

72736

Jan 07

22678

47379

2128

177

474

425

873

74134

Feb 07

23275

47874

2138

178

477

429

857

75228

Mar 07

23530

48776

2150

174

483

432

851

76396

Apr 07

24146

49657

2169

176

488

434

842

77912



[1] We follow the usage introduced by Saskia Sassen in defining “Global Cities” as strategic geographic locales that see processes being created, facilitated, and enacted that have a direct and tangible effect on global affairs through socio-economic, culture, or political impact - see http://www.india-seminar.com/2001/503/503%20saskia%20sassen.htm. For a compiled list of Global Cities, see Appendix 1.

[2] As defined by the United Nations Development Program for example. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (1997). Governance for sustainable human development: A UNDP policy document. Retrieved March 25, 2005, from The UNDP Web site: http://magnet.undp.org/policy/.

[3] And in this context further recognizing that cities are, in the emerging age of resource and specifically energy depletion and environmental awareness, the most energy efficient and environmentally manageable residential form for large scale populations.

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