I've been lurking around DIY and watching some interesting ideas bantered
about, and the "user interface for cities" persuaded me it might be an
opportune time to add a tad to the conversation. But the "user interface for
cities" is a bit too global for me, I've only interacted with New York
City's institutions, formal and informal. And for me, even thinking about a
single interface for NYC with it's 8 million residents, 300,000 city
employees, and 400 square miles is perhaps a bit overwhelming.
I'm working on a campaign to acquire a retro Internet resource, the .nyc TLD
(like .com and .org but just for New York City). While there are many
interesting features to it, the one that's grabbed my attention - and I
think is relevant here - is dotNeighborhoods: developing the neighborhood
names that will become available with the arrival of the .nyc TLD -
astoria.nyc, brooklyn-heights.nyc, clinton.nyc, GreenwichVillage.nyc, etc,
as the building blocks for a more livable city. There are 300+ of these
traditional "named neighborhoods" in New York City. Our goal is to create
effective local communication channels using the neighborhood domain name
Those who've been engaged with local issues learn after some bruises that
while the city might be a global communication center, local communication
is dreadful. I lived in Terre Haute, Indiana for a couple of years in the
late 1960s. It had 6 radio and 2 TV stations and a daily newspaper
addressing the needs of its 100,000 residents. My community district (3
Queens where I was a member for 14 years) doesn't have any of those
resources to facilitate communication between our 200,000 residents. (Parts
of the district have access to a weekly newspaper.)
So the question I'm dealing with is, What's the "user interface" to make the
most of these dotNeighborhoods?
In New York City I see three levels of civic interaction - neighborhood,
issue, and government. From a historic perspective, prior to the 1980's and
the arrival of community boards, there was more effective local activism,
largely centered on political clubs and civic organizations. Community
Boards put another level of (underfunded and resourced) bureaucracy between
residents and city hall.
So if we take a leap here and assume that neighborhoods are of reasonable
dimension for local governance, providing a core identity for New Yorkers,
what does the dotNeighborhood interface look like?
It's needs links to city hall data silos, and your 1.0 DIY below identifies
many of these. Also, it needs to make presentation, decision making, and
collaboration tools available for neighborhoods. And it needs a way to
facilitate organization around issues - those that are not necessarily of
interest to the entire hood. I've proposed Issue-Communities as a part of
this, see http://bit.ly/hb1Ds. It combines the mapping features of
seeclickfix.com with some organizing features, enabling a civilized anarchy.
We'll be discussing the dotNeighborhood user interface at the Neighborhood
Preservation Center, 232 E. 11th Street, 6-8 PM on June 24. This is our
second meeting on dotNeighborhoods and we'll be discussing the guidelines
for allocating names, content obligations; who qualifies and how one applies
to operate a neighborhood channel; and the oversight processes. See
http://bit.ly/hb1Ds for more. I think the DIY movement could add a lot to
the effort and I invite all to attend.
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Geraci"
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 1:00 PM
Subject: Discussions: 'A DIYcity 1.0 Framework' at DIYcity #post-543.
> Post 'A DIYcity 1.0 Framework' by John Geraci
> I'm still thinking about the notion of a "user interface for cities and
> their residents", and thinking about what the key components of a 1.0 of
> such a system would be. This is, after all, what we've set out in some
> small way to work toward - a general user interface for cities
> everywhere, that residents of those cities can plug into. Maybe working
> toward that just means outlining what the main components are, maybe it
> means pointing to instances of it in each city, and maybe it means
> building it ourselves. Or maybe it is some combination of those three
> At any rate, following up on Tuesday's post  about outlining a
> DIYcity 1.0, I'm taking the very simple, conceptual step of taking those
> services I was talking about and thinking of them explicitly in terms of
> DIY Transportation
> DIY Police Services
> DIY Emergency Care
> DIY Public Health
> DIY Waste Management
> DIY Education (added by nickyg)
> and a few others:
> DIY Resource Location
> DIY Alt Transportation (bikes etc)
> DIY Citizen Coordination
> and I'm thinking of these as top-level categories for possible DIY
> Inside those categories of course you could fit hundreds of individual
> apps. And we will, eventually. But if we start by outlining the
> top-level categories for a user interface for cities, then we can start
> to think more clearly about what a 1.0 interface should include. Or
> rather what it needs to include.
> (I left off of this list a lot of services that I think are not
> innately DIY-friendly: Fire service for instance. If you think I'm
> wrong to leave these things out of the framework for a DIYcity 1.0, let
> me know.)
> So that's where I am today: with a rough outline of a framework for a
> DIYcity 1.0, a user interface for cities. That will get codified
> somewhat into the site itself going forward, and we will begin to
> formulate ideas around these.
> I still feel like this is an incomplete list. I've gotten a few good
> responses from people off-list about this. If you have any other ideas
> on this, please send em my way.
>  http://diycity.org/discussions/outlining-diycity-10
> Read more: http://diycity.org/node/543
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