UK-online-neighbourhood-study-2010.jpgJackson Hts., New York, December 19, 2010 - The London based Networked Neighbourhoods Group today published its long awaited Online Neighbourhood Networks Study. The research, by Hugh Flouch and Kevin Harris, provides insight into the impact neighborhood networks have had in 3 UK towns. The report concluded that they have:

  • stimulated social capital and strengthened cohesion
  • contributed to citizen empowerment and engagement, and
  • build citizens’ capacity and willingness to work alongside public services. 

While much of the information is supportive of neighborhood networks, one finding screams for additional attention:

“Data from Hitwise Experian suggests that affluent people, with high educational attainment, are over-represented in the population that uses the websites. This appears to be confirmed in the socio-demographic profile of our survey respondents.”

In other words, the digital divide continues. The Study focuses our attention on the need for education, training, and access projects to broaden awareness and use of these new local governance tools as they are introduced at the neighborhood level. Follow our response to this research on our Education Programs page.

The Online Neighbourhood Networks Study is available at

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

cowboys.JPGCartagena de Indias, Colombia, December 8, 2010 - In April 2001 a local governance unit in New York City passed an Internet Empowerment Resolution requesting the issuance of the .nyc TLD to enable the city to keep pace with the times. Noting the massive innovation enabled by the Internet, New York essentially said “Why not us?”

9 years later no one questions the right of cities to have TLDs but applications for city TLDs are caught in a logjam caused by the ICANN’s one-application-fits-all approach to issuing new TLDs. While laudable, the process continues to plod along, grappling with one barrier after another.

Cities offer the optimum test of the application process:

  • For those concerned about intellectual property, city TLDs reduce the likelihood of trademark confusion. The .cat experience attests to this. Additionally, cities are responsible players with ready recourse through nation-state structures.
  • The thoughtful development of city TLDs using a standardized Internet of Things nomenclature, will provide an infrastructure for innovation in fields from global rescue operations to locating the nearest movie theater.
  • City TLDs will provide a test for those concerned about the human and technical readiness of the ICANN and the route. 
  • There are 476 cities with million + populations. If the ICANN’s global outreach project initially focuses on reaching these entities, offering financial and technical assistance to several of the less-able, a manageable batch of applications will work their way through the process. 
  • For those concerned about the encroachment of government into the realm of business, qualification for city-TLD processing should be tied to agreement to the standards presented in Public Interest City-TLD Definition.

Once this city batch has worked its way through the human and technical processes, and as the issues of concern on another TLD category are worked out, that next group will proceed using Application Process B.  (Photo courtesy Library of Congress.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

Filed December 8th, 2010 under Inspiration, City-TLDs, NTIA, ICANN

NTIA-logo.0.JPGCartagena, Columbia, December 6, 2010 - Inc. today filed comments with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration in response to its “Global Free Flow of Information on the Internet - [Docket No. 100921457–0457–01] RIN 0660–XA20]” inquiry. The deadline for filing was December 6, a time when Thomas Lowenhaupt, the comments’ drafter, was attending an ICANN meeting in Cartagena, hence the exotic location for the filing of this post.

The comments, “The Impacts of the City-TLD Lacuna on Commerce, Innovation, and Access” addressed the lacuna in the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) - NO CITY NAMES - and its impacts and lost opportunities to cities.

The comments urged NTIA to support thoughtful research on the role and potential of city-TLDs, something never undertaken by the NTIA or ICANN. “The release of the DNS without city-TLDs has diminished the utility and operational efficiency of cities in a multitude of ways, resulting in an immense lost opportunity cost.” They also noted that “the city-TLD lacuna skewed the Internet’s development toward a global medium to the detriment of cities.”

The comments urged NTIA to peek “outside the silo of telecom policy and toward urban affairs” and the role the Net might play in housing, education, health, and security. And how the Net might be fashioned to help cities “integrate planning and service delivery in these various areas.” The comments predicted that “Huge economic savings and social benefit will arrive with the thoughtful introduction of city-TLDs if  innovation is enabled by thorough planning.”  See the comments here.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

Filed December 6th, 2010 under City-TLDs, Domain Names, NTIA, Civics