So, what’s in your neighborhood?
A brand-new online interactive project invites people throughout Santa Rosa to share what’s most important and interesting about the parts of town they call home.
Once residents from all over Santa Rosa upload stories and images from their neighborhoods, the result will be what Margie Purser likes to call a “citywide selfie.”
“This is a fascinating city,” said Purser, a Sonoma State University anthropology professor and a prime mover of the so-called Santa Rosa Neighborhood Heritage Mapping Project.
It aims to bring to the city’s 150th anniversary celebrations this year a snapshot of the neighborhoods. The interactive map will provide stories and photos, conveying what it is that gives a neighborhood its character and identity.
Residents can go at their leisure onto the project’s website, expected to go live today: www.sr150heritagemap.net.
Or they can arrange with Purser a neighborhood mapping party. Anyone with questions or an interest in a mapping party can contact Purser and her colleagues at email@example.com.
Purser said it’s essential to the success and value of the project that residents of all the city’s neighborhoods participate, not just those living in what have been considered the more historic and significant parts of town.
“You’ve got to have everybody, or it’s not a map,” she said. “The more people who participate, the richer, more inclusive and more detailed our ‘citywide selfie’ at 150 will be.”
Purser points out that a heritage map is different than a historical one. Though her project will, in the future, feature maps from Santa Rosa’s past, the central intent is not to convey the history of a neighborhood but the elements of its current personality and character.
Once the project is completed, visitors to the website will be able to take virtual tours anywhere in the city.
Any Santa Rosa residents who has access to the internet can go onto the digital map, enter a street address and tell what’s important about that place.
Participants can write, in English or Spanish, about an entire neighborhood or a place within a neighborhood: A park. A school. A street. A business. A community center. A natural feature such as a creek or hill or field or pond.
Possible stories could involve a meaningful event that happened, or an interesting person who lived there.
Stories of up to 250 words can be accompanied by photographs.
Purser and her partners helping create the map hope each participant will share why his or her neighborhood or place is important and how it contributes to the character of that part of town.
Stories and pictures from October’s Tubbs fire certainly will be part of the map.
The launching of the Santa Rosa Neighborhood Heritage Mapping Project culminates nearly four years of work by an entire corps of people.
Purser said, “A dozen or so local organizations and institutions, from the Sonoma County Museum to Landpaths’ Bayer Farm have partnered with us.”
Also essential to the project, she said, are the contributions from Sonoma State students in the anthropology, computer science and the geography, environment and planning departments.
“And then there are all the people from all over town who’ve helped out, offered advice, and volunteered time and expertise. It’s been amazing,” she said.