Saturday, November 14, 2009

Neogeoisms:: Branding Your 'Hood

I'm still catching up on stuff from this week, but one article I saw was another article on acronymized neighbourhood names via Gothamist.  I've seen these for a few years now in New York magazine and I think Time Out.  The idea is that realtors create catchy neighbourhood names to help create a sense of place that's a branded lifestyle identity.  I had a sublet in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the guy I was renting from said that parts of Bushwick were being called East Williamsburg.  Hipsters lured by cheap rents soon found out that Bushwick was like what what parts of "Billyburg" was like back in the 1990s, which had little charm and fewer amenities.  In San Francisco, I was aware that parts of the Upper Haight were being billed as Cole Valley.  An acquaintance of mine lived on Stanyan, so it was close to all of the amenities of the Haight, but without the hassle of living in a tourist mecca.  I recall "acronymized" or abbreviated names such as PoHill {Portrero Hill} and SoMa {South of Market}.

The Gothamist article highlights the following neogeoisms::
"'GoCaGa' for the area between Gowanus and Carroll Gardens, 'BoHo' for the Bowery south of Houston, 'SunSlope' for the streets between Sunset Park and Park Slope, and 'iTri' for the Iron Triangle in Willets Point."
Cue the eyerolling.  This got me thinking of Toronto neighbourhoods, which don't seem to have clever and catchy brandscapes.  {I have an old and unfunny joke about West West West West Queen West being Vancouver.  Sort of a dig at the naming of West Queen West and the sprawling nature of the GTA}.  The Wikipedia list seems to confirm this.  The City of Toronto list lacks granularity and my 'hood is considered the Church-Yonge corridor, which is quite a swath that doesn't evoke thoughts of a neighbourhood.  I have a feeling I might be missing a site or resource that lists what the cool realtors are calling their territories.

Well, I could try to construct Toronto names using cleverisms, but I'll leave that enterprise for others.  I do wonder, as I'm not 100% sure if South-of-Bloor would be SoBlo or BloSo.  The Annex north of Bloor.  AnnNoBlo?  Ugggh, I said I wouldn't do this.

Twitterversion::  #Gothamist article on neogeoisms rehashes idea of branding neighbourhood communities. Has #Toronto resisted this trend?  @Prof_K

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