The JacksonHeights.nyc Initiative will have a transparent and inclusive governance processes for its online and offline operations. The initiative was begun by the nonprofit Connecting.nyc Inc., and is operated under a license issued by the city of New York. Connecting.nyc has legal responsibility for the overall operation of the enterprise. Connecting.nyc has committed to transfer control of the Initiative to an independent, locally controlled, nonprofit, JacksonHeights.nyc Inc. by the end of the initial 3 year operating license it has been issued for the JacksonHeights.nyc domain.
Governance is the key to the JacksonHeights.nyc Initiative's success. There are 2 levels of governance: for the wiki and other digital resources, and for the organization that oversees the wiki.
Governance of the Jackson Heights Wiki
Anyone is able to edit our wiki. Mischief is moderated by powerful controls that allow rolling back undesired edits. As well, those making undesired edits can be blocked from making further edits. For details on Wikipedia governance see:
There are several authority levels within wiki.JacksonHeights.nyc. In descending order of authority they are:
- Administrators - See their role on Wikipedia.
- Users or members
Governance of the JacksonHeights.nyc Website
As of this posting, May 16, 2017, our plan calls for transitioning to a locally designed JacksonHeights.nyc website during the early summer of 2017. The current design was selected by the city, and will be retained until that time. A governance plan will accompany that development. It will be guided by our response to Question #10 on the city application.
Governance Plans As Per The License Application
The following is from the application for JacksonHeights.nyc as submitted to city of New York in October 2016.
Question #10. ORGANIZATIONS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PARTNER WITH OTHER NEIGHBORHOOD ENTITIES IN ORDER TO LAUNCH AND MAINTAIN THEIR SITES. IN FACT, NEIGHBORHOOD SITES SHOULD BE INCLUSIVE OF ALL INTERESTED PARTIES. ONE ORGANIZATION WILL FUNCTION AS THE LEAD AND ULTIMATELY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SITE'S SUCCESS. WILL YOUR ORGANIZATION BE THE LEAD OR A SECONDARY/ SUPPORTING PARTNER?
Please list any partners that you plan to work with on this initiative and describe the expected role of each:
Answer #10. Connecting.nyc Inc. will serve as the lead during the acquisition phase of JacksonHeights.nyc’s establishment. And, in consultation with neighborhood residents and organizations, it will coordinate the selection and development of the systems and technology that will enable its initiation phase.
While the licensing and initial technology tasks are fundamental, success requires that we develop the capacity to identify issues and opportunities that will impact the neighborhood; and that we elicit the cooperation and collaboration of residents and organizations to present and address them.
To do so we need to convince residents to contribute stories about their lives, concerns, needs, and aspirations. Ideas spread best when neighbors trust and share with one another. If we’re to be more than a reiteration of existing digital resources, we need to engage residents to invest their energy and resources today and in the years ahead. We view this as a key task.
Governance Today and Tomorrow
The applicant, Connecting.nyc Inc., is a NYS non-profit holding IRS 501(c)(3) status. Our 5 member board of directors was assembled in the mid-2000’s to help foster the acquisition of the .nyc TLD. All live or work in the city. Three resided in the Jackson Heights neighborhood most of their lives.
Connecting.nyc Inc. has made long term commitments to represent the interests of the city’s individual internet users before the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and to spread the word about city TLDs through its special consultative status at the United Nations (we’re an NGO). We intend to meet our commitments and continue these roles in the coming years.
However, over the next few years the preponderance of our energy will focus on developing the JacksonHeights.nyc domain. Thereafter, having fostered a sustainable operating model, we will establish an independent entity to oversee JacksonHeights.nyc’s operation, serving in a secondary or support role, as needed. In the interim, a Council for the Neighborhood Commons will be created to provide for neighborhood engagement and operating guidance. Connecting.nyc Inc. will particpate on that Council, contribute its resources, and remain engaged to assure compliance with the licensing agreement.
Council for the Neighborhood Commons
Residents, civic, education, and business organizations will be encouraged to help establish policy via participation on a Council for the Neighborhood Commons (CNC). The Council will have periodic face-to-face meetings (minimally on a quarterly basis) to review policies and programs that affect the operation of JacksonHeights.nyc, and to suggest ways it might better serve the neighborhood.
The CNC will have an online presence as well - calendar, discussion, wiki - the content of which shall be available to residents.
The voting membership of the CNC will consist of the following:
- One member representing civic organizations, chosen by the North Queens Homeowners Association, the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, Jackson Heights Green Alliance, Jackson Heights Residents Association.
- A member representative of the neighborhood’s large immigrant population, with the member selected by NICE (New Immigrant Community Empowerment), DRUM, the Bangladeshi Historic Memory Project, and others.
- Resident-owners of neighborhood oriented businesses will appoint one representative to participate on the CAC.
- Entities representing the business community, such as the 74th Street Merchants Association and the 82nd Street BID will be invited to select a member to serve on the CAC.
- In the cultural realm the Jackson Heights Arts Club, the Jackson Heights Orchestra, Queens World Film Festival, and the Choral Society will be invited to send a member to the council.
- From the education world we will invite the Jackson Heights Parents for Public Schools and neighborhood PTAs to join the council.
- With the majority of residents renters, and home ownership high by NYC standards, both should be represented on the CNC.
- In Jackson Heights we are rich with religious groups, from the entities representing the historic Jewish, Methodist, and Roman Catholic residents to the more recent Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic arrivals. Our spiritual providers will be invited to send a member.
- Activist organizations with a strong presence in JH, such as Queens Bike and the LGBT community will be invited to participate.
- A representative of residents appointed by the Community Board.
- Connecting.nyc Inc.will assign one member to the CNC.
All CNC members must live in the neighborhood. As will be see in our answer to Question 11, Jackson Heights is quite diverse and we will work diligently to assure that diversity is represented on our Council.
Sometimes neighborhood needs can benefit from outside assistance. To share insights and best practices with others developing dotNeighborhhods we have begun communicating with developers of Flushing.nyc and MurrayHill.nyc, and we expect to establish collaborative relationships with other dotNeighborhoods where ideas are best practices are shared.
Should our needs stretch outside the confines of the city, to the realm of Internet standards, we have an affiliation with the Internet Society of New York and we serve as an At Large Structure within ICANN.
To support our use of the wiki engagement concept, we have established a relationship with Wikimedia-NY, the local chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation.