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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The NorthSider

If you visit the city's official website and click the link to its 79 official neighborhoods, you'll witness the digital divide right before your eyes.

Well-to-do and well-known neighborhoods like St. Louis Hills and Soulard have attractive, contemporary websites. Neighborhoods less on the radar are not likely to have much of a web presence. Many of these historic neighborhoods are faced with a city-designed website that dates to the mid-1990s--and hasn't been updated since.

But it's not just a matter of flashiness and neighborhood pride--neighborhood websites can be a great place to disseminate information out to residents. Other than Old North St. Louis, not a single other North Side neighborhood had much in the way of an online presence. Now, several of them have something even better--a neighborhood/ward newspaper that has both a physical and online copy, the NorthSider.

The NorthSider is a project of 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French. The neighborhood newspaper lists its constituent neighborhoods underneath its title: Penrose, O'Fallon, the Greater Ville, Mark Twain, and Kingsway East.

In its first edition are stories regarding the North Side Recreation Center to be constructed in O'Fallon Park:

and new housing on North Newstead:

The NorthSider fills a tremendous gap in coverage of the goings-on and development news across a wide swath of the North Side. South Siders and Central Corridor-ians better take note of the NorthSider's covered neighborhoods--they're true architectural stars of which we should all be proud.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think the Northsider is great. Congrats to all who made it happen.

However, the phrase "...faced with a city-designed website...and hasn't been updated since" reads as if the city has chosen to give some neighborhoods a nice website, and others not.

All the neighborhood websites started out the same many years ago. But each is managed within the neighborhood. Some neighborhoods have opted to update their websites, others have not.

As the author of one of the nicer south city websites (it's not important which one), I can report firsthand it just takes ONE PERSON to volunteer to take over a neighborhood's website. Obviously a certain amount of web skill is required, but these days it's not hard to find. A high school student who's taken one class can produce a nice looking website, even if it's not at a professional level.

I was embarrassed by the state of my neighborhood's website a few years back so I volunteered to help. It didn't cost me a penny.

If you don't know who to contact to help in your neighborhood, start here

I'm not a professional web developer, but I learned a LOT along the way. It was fun, and helped instill pride in my neighborhood.

Carrie Nenonen said...

I miss your posts! Hope all is ok...

Chris said...

Seems like you've picked up a lot of new fans in China, Matt.

Sisyphus said...

Seems like the Northsider may have already died. There hasn't been any content added to their web site in a long time. Sort of like Dotage St. Louis, come to think of it. What is going on?

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