To expand on the neighborhood identity theme from yesterday’s post, physical gateways not only help aid wayfinding, but they also contribute to creating a sense of place. They create links between people and place, as well as links between the different places within a whole city/district. Additionally, physical gateways contribute to the overall curb appeal of the community (which is a key driver in how many people decide to live in an area).
Interestingly, very few South Bend neighborhoods have physical gateways. Some use monuments to mark entrances, but only a few highlight the name of the neighborhood or district. Among the several that do, brick is a common material, with Keller Park having one of the more modern signs (as seen in the middle photo below).
Some neighborhoods, like River Park, rely on landmarks to call attention to where you are.
As South Bend neighborhoods further develop their identities, gateway signage should be an important part of the discussion, especially in looking to for ways to better market those areas.