Mapping Downtown Spaces & Uses

The Stamford Downtown team uses Ginkgo to centralize their record keeping for all spaces in the management district.

By Starling Childs

Staying organized is an important part of being able to make relatively quick and informed decisions on behalf of your downtown community. But with so many different commercial spaces, public spaces, as well as uses and activities changing throughout, it can be a challenge to keep a good source of information up to date about your downtown area. 

Stamford Downtown manages the Downtown Special Service District (DSSD) in Stamford, CT, which is one of the largest cities in Connecticut, and largest CT city located directly outside of New York City. The Stamford Downtown team centralizes all of their records about real estate, streetscape operations, and placemaking in Ginkgo so that the data is organized on a map and easily accessible for reports and analysis.

Ginkgo is used by the Stamford Downtown team to establish a directory to track the status, condition and contact details for all accessible spaces within the downtown management area.

One of the priorities of the Stamford Downtown team was to establish a clear directory of all spaces and manage attribute information about these spaces. The goal was to have a internal resource to track uses of space that complemented the records already at hand for buildings, properties and businesses.

Ginkgo’s out of the box framework comes with a dataset type called “Units” which is used to track space. Units can be used to manage records for storefronts, condo properties, or even vendors operating in regular locations in the public realm. In Stamford Downtown’s case, the team took their Unit records one step further and created shapes for each space rather than simply a point on the map. This process involved duplicating the Building records and modifying the footprints to articulate roughly where a storefront or lobby occupied the ground floor of a building’s footprint. 

Building footprints are a helpful resource for organizing a directory of storefront records.

The outcome of this survey work with Ginkgo is akin to having a floor plan for the entire downtown management area, similar to what you might find on an information kiosk in a large indoor shopping mall or airport. And typically where there is a single owner, like a shopping mall or an airport, the owner has all the schematics and floor plans available to create a highly detailed map of their property. But our downtown management areas and neighborhoods are not owned by a single entity, and floor plans are rarely accessible, let alone available in a format ready to work with digitally.

Connecting Ginkgo to Google Sheets and Figma enables Stamford Downtown to work with a set of printable maps of streets around the neighborhood to update their board and share internally. Similarly, these maps can help with providing public facing business directories when designed for a public audience.

While the diversity of ownership is the very thing that makes our downtowns interesting and authentic places to be, it also adds new layers of complexity to the work organizations like Stamford Downtown do in order to manage our most active neighborhoods. Gathering information about buildings and facilities can be a challenge. So it helps to have a system of record where these files and data points can all be mapped out as things change over time. Ginkgo also enables Stamford Downtown to connect these records to other systems their team uses. By integrating with other digital tools and automating certain workflows Stamford Downtown is able to ensure their records are kept up to date without the challenge of managing everything manually in a collection of separate spreadsheets. 

Are you managing a downtown or neighborhood and finding yourself in need to a record keeping system for properties, buildings and other spaces? Let’s connect to see if Ginkgo could be a good fit for you. You can learn more about the types of records that Ginkgo helps place managers work with on our support pages.

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