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The Promise of Top-Level Internet Domains

on Thu, 11/10/2011 - 00:46

This article: "How Top-Level Internet Domains Could Revitalize Cities, or Be Squandered" by David Bollier comes after he bumped into Thomas Lowenhaupt at a conference entitled Beyond Books. It turns out Lowenhaupt is into the Commons in a big way and is campaigning through his organization Connecting NYC to bring a commons based governance regime to New York City via the ICANN’s prospective introduction of Top-Level Domains (TLDs).

Its easy to imagine what benefits they could have for a small group of financiers/speculators but what if we opened its potential up to the whole private sphere which (as defined by Barnes here) is the Commons Sector. Here is an excerpt from Bollier’s article:

“Lowenhaupt gave a talk at the MIT PlanningTech Conference on April 8 at which he outlined why NYC planners should regard the TLDs as a critical tool for shaping the city in the future – equivalent in long-term significance to the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 that established the Manhattan street grid north of Houston Street. The city-TLD essentially functions as the city’s cyber-grid, he said. Why should that infrastructure be transferred or sold to private companies as if there were no structural, long-term public interests?” ~ David Bollier - Show original

The Commons sector is a river of vast resources surrounding capitalism, transcending and including the more ‘me orientated’ nature of our present private sphere. When we move from the ‘Me’ to the ‘We’ the possibilities for enhanced civil and democratic engagement multiply.

Imagine future cities where as David Bollier outlines:

  • People’s ability to locate businesses and civic resources are enhanced.
  • New types of local advertising could flourish.
  • Revenues could stay within the communities rather than being siphoned away to distant dot-com companies.
  • Neighbourhoods could form their own governance systems based on trusteeship and act as stewards for present and future generations.
  • Intuitive tagging systems for physical objects create a viable “Internet of things.”  ’Tags on clogged street grates or public restrooms could enable people to report problems, and city government could manage city resources more efficiently’.

One last thought, I recently heard from a very good friend of mine that he was going to an event exploring the world of trans-humanism, I thought to myself that a future in which technology augments the human individual and collective experience through its integration with us is entirely possible and is already here. A further leap today after reading this blog post leads me to think that the city like a living system will also find its next evolutionary step through greater integration with technology and the internet, its already happening, and will take a big leap forward IF a Commons based governance system through Lowenhaupt’s Connecting.NYC campaign can be established.

Lets sign the petition & make this campaign a success!!! And make NYC a model that can spread to our future cities all around the globe.

This blog post was originally published on - a blog based website which at time of writing is in its early stages of creation.