Tucked away, nestled between Richmond’s financial district, are cobblestone streets and alleyways that tell a story. The story of RVA-found in places like Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom-is laced with many dips and turns. However, one thing is obvious-Richmond keeps moving forward. Always.
Today the story of the Shockoe neighborhood, and Richmond at large, can still be found around every corner of this historic district, but with a twist.
ShockoeForward, a newly launched web platform, is writing a new chapter in Richmond history that is playing out both online and off.
The interactive website, www.shockoeforward.org, is powered by The Shockoe Partnership, a non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation and economic vitality of the Shockoe area.
The site is driven by the core belief that the collective individuals who call Shockoe home are in a unique position to best shape the area’s direction. ShockoeForward hopes to tap the diverse expertise and connections in the corridor through its network designed for sharing, improving, and creating what is to come next in its history.
“The Shockoe Partnership is very excited about the launch of ShockoeForward and look forward to harnessing the collective wisdom of those who work, live and visit these neighborhoods to make it better,” explains Katie Gilstrap, a board member at The Shockoe Partnership.
Gilstrap says that in Spring 2010 the website framework was conceptualized by The Martin Agency and later put into play by a local software consulting firm, along with considerable beta testing by local individuals. Last month the handiwork of many of Richmond’s top developers was finally hatched. The result is a user-interface that is map-based, allowing Richmonders to specifically locate and identify problems, issues, and opportunities by easily identifying with the physical urban space.
To interact with ShockoeFoward, users are taken through a quick sign-up process, allowing account holders to then create a new “project” or join an active project in progress.
Community members can also comment on other open projects to provide their input. Projects currently trending on the site revolve around Shockoe clean-up initiatives, driving hazards, dining, safety, and ways to better serve the neighborhood.
Gilstrap points out that as individuals we’re not always able to answer hefty questions but the collective knowledge of the community can work together on the site to find or create answers. As a result, ShockoeForward has quickly become a place for Richmonders to post questions or initiate a project that calls on others for help.
As a project advances and the discussions heat up, the project owner can mark certain comments as “keyframes,” indicating a summary of actions that helped resolve a project. Once a project is complete, these comments and keyframes can be accessed by others seeking similar answers.
ShockoeForward participants believe that by coming together Richmonders can improve the Shockoe community by openly sharing thoughts, perceptions, knowledge and experiences.