Freshman economics major Frank Muraca knows Fairfax.

Considering Muraca’s thorough understanding of Fairfax County policy issues, one would think he has studied the region for many years. Actually, Muraca is 18 years old and has been studying at Mason for less than a year.

A graduate of Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Va., Muraca never lived in Northern Virginia for any substantial period of time before attending Mason. Yet just this year, Muraca developed Fairfaxpedia, an online encyclopedia of Fairfax County.

“It’s free, unbiased information about local issues,” Muraca said, describing his website.

Muraca first thought about creating Fairfaxpedia last summer while working in his hometown for nonprofit news website Charlottesville Tomorrow.

“Charlottesville Tomorrow created Cvillepedia, which is like Wikipedia but for Charlottesville,” Muraca said. “I thought I could do the same thing in Fairfax.”

To date, Fairfaxpedia contains over 100 articles.

“It’s still young and just getting started,” said Muraca, who has spent over four months building the site. “I didn’t know how far I wanted to take it.”

The most daunting obstacle that Muraca overcame was his lack of web design experience.

“I had no knowledge of servers and web posting,” Muraca said.

Considering that MediaWiki, a free open source software wiki package, already provided a template, Muraca didn’t have too much technical work to stand in his way.

“It was just a matter of putting it all together,” Muraca said.

Currently, all members of Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors have pages on Fairfaxpedia. Yet, the Board of Supervisors is likely unaware of Muraca’s site.

“I haven’t contacted them,” Muraca said. “I’m still working on it.”

Muraca hopes that Mason students can help contribute articles to Fairfaxpedia.

“A wiki is only as valuable as the content that average citizens put into it,” Muraca said. “Anyone who thinks they can add content should.”

As he regularly updates Fairfaxpedia, Muraca has a nuanced grasp of dilemmas that impact Fairfax County politics. According to Muraca, Fairfax County’s two most pressing predicaments involve transportation and the economy, which are interconnected.

“As Fairfax grows, transportation and the economy function together,” Muraca said. “We must ask where people choose to live — in automobile-accessible developments or in walkable communities.”

Muraca also said that because the federal government is reducing military spending—which is a major part of Northern Virginia’s economy—Fairfax County will need to find other primary revenue sources.

“As the federal government cuts back, Fairfax County will have to rethink how it does business,” Muraca said, suggesting that Mason has a big role to play in the technology sector of Fairfax’s economy.

Reflecting upon Mason’s cultural climate, Muraca said that if more students live on campus, there can be a greater sense of community and the City of Fairfax can become more of a college town.

“Currently, people come to class, commute and leave,” Muraca said. “As Mason becomes more populated, it can become more integrated with the city.”

To get involved with Fairfaxpedia, visit or email Muraca at