Exciting changes are happening to the way South Orange, NJ goes about cultivation of the character of its community. These changes have also opened the door for me to get a first crack at producing prototype content for use as proofs of concept as I begin to pitch Third Place Media services to potential clients.
For many years Main Street South Orange has been a resource for local businesses, facilitated redesign efforts in the village center, and managed special events and promotion of the town’s offerings. Main Street, an outgrowth of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, operates through state and local level groups like ours, using revitalization of downtown districts as a platform for preserving historic locations and driving commercial economic development. A recent South Orange statute has created a Special Improvement District (SID), overseen by a board of community members, which will receive municipal funds to pursue both these goals and an expanded revitalization and economic development mission. Because of its long history here and relationship with the community, it was decided that the existing Main Street South Orange would be recast as the commercial entity to manage the implementation of the board’s strategy.
The new group will expand on the work already done by Main Street South Orange to create a cohesive identity for the South Orange village center, with the aims of attracting new businesses and a larger customer base. When the SID formally launches this fall, the centerpiece of its branding collateral will be a new website that replaces the existing Main Street South Orange site. The new site will feature my photography of public spaces and businesses. In line with the goals of Third Place Media to help create communities that support social engagement and reduce dependence on cars, the images I am capturing focus on the way our commercial center encourages foot traffic and provides the density of retail, services and food & beverage businesses that make the town an attractive destination location for both locals and customers farther out.
I’m looking forward to following the group as it develops and implements its strategy, both as an interested member of the community and as the founder of a business designed to provide materials needed by organizations like this to effectively engage community stakeholders and communicate its activities and accomplishments. Once I’ve wrapped up with the more general photography for use in the website graphical elements, I’ll be going from store to store to capture images for use on individual business profile pages. The board chair has also expressed interest in video based content, like the short film of scenes from around the NJ Transit rail station I made a few months ago.
For now, enjoy a handful of samples from the work-in-process: