­toilet-with-phone-and-bird.JPGNew York, February 22­, 2010 - We submitted a somewhat indelicate proposal to the Minds in the Gutter competition on February 15, 2010. The competition was predicated on the following statement:

“Every time it rains in New York City, our combined sewer system gobbles up stormwater running off all hard surfaces - roadways, sidewalks, rooftops and parking lots - into the same network of pipes that carry our sewage. This system quickly reaches capacity, and the stormwater and sewage overflow into local waterways on the order of 27 billion gallons per year. This limits how New Yorkers can safely access the waterfront, and impairs our estuary ecosystem.”

While the competition was looking for solutions to the sewerage overflow problem from the field of civil engineering (e.g., enabling rain water to seep into the gutter and become groundwater), we saw an opportunity to point out how computer engineering could address the problem. Our solution combined a careful Internet of Things development of the toilets.nyc domain name with civic crowdsourcing. With our test project focused on cleaning Flushing Bay, we entitled our proposal The Flushing Community, see it here.

Being non-compliant with a strict reading of the guidelines, we’re hoping for an “outsider” or “best effort” award from S.W.I.M. judges. (Commons images courtesy of Patti Lowenhaupt and S.W.I.M.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page.

neighborhood.JPGNew York, February 21, 2010 - We had our fourth meeting on dotNeighborhoods, gathering at the Neighborhood Preservation Center on January 26. The meeting report and some photos of the attendees are now available.

The meeting began with a project overview from Connecting.nyc Inc.’s (CnI) executive director, followed by a report from the Hunter College Urban Affairs Workshop on their “Case Study: Neighborhoods in a Digital Era.” Their research focused on three areas: Identity, Content, and Governance. Read Hunter’s Executive Summary and download the full document details from here.

Discussion followed with many suggestions and opinions expressed. As the meeting neared its conclusion, it was noted that while city hall has seen the wisdom of reserving the neighborhood domain names, it was not clear, should the current direction prevail, what it will take to have them released and developed in the public interest.

At the previous meeting it was suggested that an independent Ad Hoc group be formed to facilitate the dotNeighborhood’s development. Thomas Lowenhaupt, CnI executive director, reported that he’d had discussions about the formation of an independent organization and that legal assistance was available. He suggested that a statement of principles regarding the role and responsibilities of the dotNeighborhoods be drafted, refined, and endorsed by supporters via an Ad Hoc dotNeighborhood Trust. And that this statement of principles be refined and passed on to the City Council and Mayor. All agreed.

Following the meeting a draft “dotNeighborhoods Proclamation” was published on CnI’s wiki. With this post we invite public comment on that draft document. After wide circulation, comments, and refinement it is expected that an Ad Hoc dotNeighborhood Trust will endorse and present the Proclamation to our elected representatives for their thoughts, consideration, and assistance with developing the dotNeighborhoods.

Learn more about this initiative from the dotNeighborhoods wiki pages. (Commons image courtesy of sporkwrapper.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page.