The Internet is everywhere – except in the places it isn’t.
When the Woodland Heights Neighborhood Association wants to spread the word about an event, using social media is only one piece of its communication strategy.
Outdoor containers, dubbed “Information Stations” are popping up around Woodland Heights in pedestrian-friendly areas. The idea is to push out information about the neighborhood and encourage people to post their own news. The stations belong to the neighbors, and they can use them to exchange goods and services if they want to.
The first Information Station was installed along Atlantic Street at the Springfield Dream Center. It’s stocked with flyers about neighborhood events, Habitat for Humanity of Springfield programs and copies of the SGF Neighborhood News. Becky Volz, a Woodland Heights Neighborhood Association board member, restocks the station twice a week.
There are plans for a total of six information stations. A larger station complete with benches will be constructed at Lafayette Park next to the Charlie Norr Community Center. The outdoor signs are possible through a Fund for Shared Insight grant. The purpose of the grant is to implement a systematic approach for listening to residents and to increase engagement.
The stations, which intentionally resemble bird houses, were designed and built by Woodland Heights’ Jim Howell. On the day we installed the first station, we discovered stamped bricks from the original sidewalk. We felt like archaeologists who dug up a little history. In a way, the new information stations are a shout out to the history of Woodland Heights, as they can be considered mini town squares where people are encouraged to gather and talk – no Internet required.