Digital Downtown Gateways

Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership launches a new website with interactive maps and community Member Portal powered by Ginkgo.

By Ginkgo

A website can be a digital gateway for a local community that facilitates clear pathways for engagement. For the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, it was important that their community’s gateway to celebrate the many great things to experience and people to connect with in this vibrant midwest city center. This meant not only creating a beautiful digital experience, but providing useful and engaging features throughout the website.

Working with local Kalamazoo-based agency Maestro (, the Partnership identified several features that were important for them to provide on the website. These included a series of interactive maps highlighting local business and economic development, as well as a “Member Portal” where trusted community members can login to access member-only directories, maps and data sources, as well as manage information about their own businesses and local events.

At Ginkgo, we believe the foundation to a successful website, or digital gateway to a community like downtown Kalamazoo, is a data management system able to keep the content on the website up-to-date and relevant for everyone visiting the site. For this reason, Ginkgo’s platform is designed to be a framework for community collaboration. We believe there are two key components of a neighborhood collaboration framework; 1) a map-based cloud data management system, and 2) a community member management system. The member management system is similar to a customer relationship management CRM system like Salesforce, which Ginkgo is also able to integrate seamlessly with.

Interactive Maps

We made the decision early on with Ginkgo to build a unique data management system that prioritized geospatial analysis and mapping as a cornerstone for our platform’s features. We feel that the day-to-day management of data and information should always be part of the same platform as the mapping and precise geolocation of the records, particularly when managing data about busy places like downtowns where records change frequently. Combining Ginkgo with a typical CMS like Wordpress, Wix, or Webflow turns a well designed website into a powerful presentation tool for mapping and data analysis. This upgraded website experiences enables the community to portray a clear picture of the downtown and help people find what they’re looking for, both digitally and physically. Kalamazoo chose to share 3 maps to help drive engagement in the right direction for the community; 1) an experience map featuring businesses, parking and other amenities, 2) a map of all available apartment buildings and places to live downtown, and 3) a map for development activity and available commercial spaces to lease or buy.

Community Member Portal

By adding a Member Portal to the website, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership establishes a hub for trusted community members to access useful resources like directories, maps and datasets, as well as tools to manage their own listings for businesses and events, and content about themselves. Downtowns are dynamic places, and information about these places is always changing. A website powered by Ginkgo is able to keep up with these changes by enabling the entire community to collaborate around the same source of information about their neighborhood, and share information where it will be most helpful for community engagement.

Click here for more posts about: