Connecticut’s major cities have dual personalities on the internet – one aimed primarily at city residents, the other at potential visitors and prospective residents. While one site is chock full of detailed information that is the lifeline for locals – with listings of city agencies, services, and department contacts – the other is dominated by splashy photographs, engaging messages, and enticing activities. Such is the marketing of urban cores in the age of the internet, mobile technology and social media – with an eye towards economic development and young professionals seeking an urban address.
In Hartford, the government site is www.hartford.gov and the event-laden site is www.hartford.com The marketing site currently features a photo of the National Champion UConn Huskies basketball team, which fills the entire home page, save for links to Upcoming Events and Restaurants & Bars. The menu includes Things to Do, Places to Go, and Everything Else (such as a category named Awesome Things). The theme Hartford Has It, the city’s tagline, appears on both sites.
The www.hartford.gov site is led by an announcement of road closures in the city due to construction, and features links to government agencies, business services and visitors information, and police. Hartford history highlights and facts about the city are included, along with a heading called “residents,” which includes a directory of city services, public health, public safety, family services and a link to “Pay Your Taxes.”
In Bridgeport, the city services site is www.bridgeportct.gov but most of the advertising, including a full-page ad in the latest issue of the Fairfield County Business Journal, is for www.bridgeportbettereveryday.com The site, which features the headline “Park City” above “bridgeport, ct” highlights livability, green Bridgeport, schools, parks and jobs & economy. The theme of the site, “Bridgeport is getting better every day,” is reflected in the site’s URL, and the text featured on the home page:
“Bridgeport is a city on the way up. We've got a lot of work to do, but we're investing in the future, making our city a place where our kids and grandkids will choose to live, work and raise their families. We're improving the city by building schools, re-opening parks, making downtown more vibrant, and developing the waterfront. And by investing in cleaner energy, we're creating better jobs and our kids will breathe cleaner air. Bridgeport is getting better every day.”
Individual can sign up for emails from the city in order to “Be the first to know about the ways Bridgeport is getting better every day.” Material on the site is copyrighted by the City of Bridgeport.
The site points out that:
- Bridgeport is becoming one of America’s greenest cities.
- We’ve got a long way to go, but schools in Bridgeport are getting better every day.
- Bridgeport’s been known as “Park City” for well over a century. And for good reason.
- Bridgeport is a great place to live for families, young professionals, seniors, and everyone in between.
In New Haven, the city government website, www.cityofnewhaven.com, includes a home page message from Mayor Toni Harp, and an array of links to various city services. Although not produced by the city, the websites www.infonewhaven.com and www.visitnewhaven.com offer information, events, and entertainment information about the city.