Place-Making With APPs
In our growing urban and technologically accessible context, APPs play a significant role in virtual place-making tool, driving the the online version of an area as the go-to-point for everything about it and anchoring people to it and the value it adds to their lives.
With the world we live in demanding more and more pressure to stay informed, APPs are able to fulfil many roles, and by taking advantage of smartphone functionality such as maps; GPS functionality; contact lists and camera facilities, can enhance user experience of an area with instant notifications of everything from area specials to security alerts, to one-touch access to company details driving the APP as a central point of information.
In this way, APPs bring local businesses, property owners, residents, investors and visitors together through a single point of contact that also links to web and social media platforms.
The UrbanPLACES Journey
In early 2015, UrbanMGT, together with brand specialist company ITI, initiated and managed the uMhlanga Rocks’ brand identity process. This included the development of a brand DNA for the area, the related brand identity and logo as well as the long-term place-making strategy. As part of its role as management company of the uMhlanga UIP, UrbanMGT implement the related communication plans
At the end of 2015, UrbanMGT was requested by Tongaat Hulett Developments (THD) to be part of a team that looked at uncovering and defining the Sibaya brand. Over the next year this brand DNA will be used to inform the planning and development of the Sibaya Precinct, as well as the way it is marketed to stakeholders.
In 2016, UrbanMGT, in its’ capacity as management company for the Florida Rd UIP was requested by the Municipals Economic Development Unit to put together a draft Term of Reference (TOR), outlining the scope and deliverables of a brand DNA and place-making project for Florida Rd. During 2016 and into early 2017, UrbanMGT saw the project through from appointment of brand consultants SHIFT Brands to the final delivery of the brand DNA to the road on the form of The VIBE magazine.
With the close out of these projects, UrbanPLACES was born and has subsequently taken on the place-making management of both uMhlanga Rocks and Florida Rd, with plans to work in collaboration with other key change agents to implement place-making work across greater Durban.
UrbanPLACES is headed up by Cara Reilly, who moved to Durban from Johannesburg at the end of 2010.
Cara headed up the team who developed, implemented and managed the Sandton Central City Improvement District (CID) place-making and marketing strategy from 2004 to 2010. In the employ of Kagiso Urban Management (KUM), Cara also oversaw the general marketing and communication functions of other City Improvement Districts (CID’s) in the north of Johannesburg, which included Rosebank, Wynberg and Kramerville.
uMhlanga Rocks U!
A much-loved village and an iconic destination on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast, uMhlanga Rocks recognised the changes underway in its environment and has developed a unified vision expressed through a single place-identifier, that captures the essence of this multi-layered place.
Much more than just a logo, this place-brand launched in November 2016 captures an 18-month long process facilitated through the uMhlanga Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP) by UrbanPLACES and brand consultant ITI, in which a cross section of uMhlanga Rocks stakeholders including businesses, property owners, residents, investors, the tourism industry, eThekwini Municipality (eTM) stakeholders and community organisations, were taken on a journey of discovery to find the essence of uMhlanga Rocks.
Through a series of engagements that allowed for the expression of fears and challenges, dreams and opportunities, a new vision for one of Durban’s most iconic villages, uMhlanga Rocks came to the fore.
We, uMhlanga Rocks, uncovered all the things that make us who we are, from what we believe and why we do what we do, to the way we act and how we want to be perceived by others.
Synthesised into a motivating reason for being, uMhlanga Rocks has been positioned as a gateway from the stresses of the world, a place of family and community, where work, play and life are in balance.
uMhlanga Rocks exists ‘To Make Every Day Feel Like A Holiday.’
In other words, operational management and place-making efforts are inextricably linked and equally important in ensuring a desirable and inviting public space for business, visitor, residents and stakeholders.
UrbanPLACES is a driver, facilitator and coordinator of projects that deliver on the place-making and marketing goals of a precinct, with a key focus on connecting the companies, ideas and opportunities that support and enhance the place-making goals of the precinct.
The Florida Rd VIBE
Initiated in June 2016 by a collective of the Florida Rd UIP and the Ethekwini Municipality’s Economic Development and Tourism departments, and driven by UrbanMGT and SHIFT Brands, Florida Rd took its first steps on a journey of discovering its brand identity. This long and inclusive process looked to uncover the roads true character, understanding who it is and who it isn’t, how it wants its personality to be communicated and the image it would like to shake off.
Captured as a new logo and place-making tool for the road, the Florida Rd brand is made up of all the strands in the roads DNA. And it is this DNA that will be used to guide what must be done to unlock the economic potential of the road.
A defining moment in the journey of this unique place, Florida Rd launched The VIBE in July 2017.
This quarterly publication is designed to re-ignite the fire in those that may have left the road, while delivering on promises made to the die-hards for their commitment to keeping this place relevant and uniquely Durban.