The neighborhood of West Hill is neatly placed between Highland Square and Downtown Akron. Most people view it as a throughway more than a destination, but it is also one of Akron’s most historic residential districts with outstanding architecture and landmarks.
West Hill was recently distinguished as its own neighborhood, independent of Highland Square. With the extension of a UPD-40 zoning district, West Hill homeowners can now live and run a business out of their homes without paying additional taxes.
Our research revealed a need for a stronger neighborhood identity and wayfinding system. Many residents also expressed their desire for cleaner streets and a neighborhood festival. We asked ourselves, can we do all three?
The Silent Disco Dustup was conceived of as the most fun neighborhood cleanup imaginable. Participants received silent disco headsets, pedometers, cleaning gear, and were accompanied by two DJs and supply vehicle for refreshments and additional gear. We designed two 1-mile routes through West Hill’s southern corridor and northern corridors. Each route featured signs with historic anecdotes and little-known-facts about the neighborhood. Participants were encouraged to dance and clean their way through the route, and those we racked up the most steps received prizes. These prizes included hand-made gifts we created at Rubber City Prints, and coupons to local businesses.
Some people travelled 50+ miles to participate in this unique silent disco experience. Everyone had a great time, made new friends, and learned a lot about West Hill.