Whats up at 8:30am Downtown?
I got to attend this morning's 8:30am (Wow) meeting at the Downtown Orlando Information Center called "Whats Up Downtown?" Speakers included folks from the library who are constructing three information towers that will be housed in the Info Center for 2 months, someone from Buy Local Orlando (who I had a brief convo with), some other people, blah blah, and then the highight: the unveiling of the new downtownorlando.com.
The site does not go live until later this month, but wow. I am excited about it already just from viewing the wireframes and hearing the descriptive talk the folks from Purple Rock Scissors gave. These guys are all about SEO so this site will be THE place tourists and locals find when they search for ANYthing relating to downtown.
One special moment for me was when they mentioned that they'd be listing neighborhoods on the site. I should make a note of this under "Trends" here on the blog. I think Hoods are going to come into reality in the next 5 years. Eventually, I want to think of Orlando not as downtown and every where else, but as pockets and hoods and places with an identity. Even if the city slaps some fake name on a hood via this Main Streets project, its a start.
Once these hoods feel they have some ownership over their personality, they will begin to differentiate themselves naturally. Yes, now every single one of them has their required "farmers market" and "art stroll" and all this bland crap. But soon the creative folks will take notice and take over for the pioneers. I give it five years.
As I said earlier, I spoke with someone from Buy Local Orlando and wow, it is tragic. It being the fact that this city is 100% committed to keeping the word "local" in the name of this effort. It. Is. Wrong. And those in Orlando who have not had the chance to see these active, vibrant and REAL "Buy Local" programs in other cities as I have, and have not had the time to research them online as I have, will not know what they are missing in this fake effort. Sad for the locals, sad for local businesses.