Pasadena’s History App Blends New and Old, Wins Award

Published : Friday, October 14, 2016 | 5:09 AM

The City of Pasadena received an award for its “Historic Pasadena” smartphone app, which lets users learn about the city’s culture and landmarks by blending history with modern technology.

The California Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to advocating education and protecting the state’s culture and historic places, awarded Pasadena with the Preservation Design Award for the app in the category of “interpretive exhibits.”

The app has three primary functions — it allows users to search any historic properties near their current location, search specific types of historic resources, such as a particular building’s architectural style and finally, it offers a series of predefined walking and driving tours developed by the City’s staff, according to the Newsletter.

Pasadena is the first local government in California to develop a smartphone app with these functions, according David Reyes, the City’s Director of Planning and Community Development.

The predefined walking and driving tours focus on lesser-known historic properties, such as bungalow courts, Victorian-era buildings, mid-century modern buildings, neon signs and cultural landscapes. According to Reyes, this is the case because tours for Pasadena’s most commonly known historic locations have already been developed by the city’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and will be incorporated into the app at a later date.

“The City is committed to continuing to improve access to information about historic resources and will continue to improve information contained in its database to ensure [it] and the smartphone app are as complete and accurate as possible,” Reyes said.

The app also provides directions to any historic properties selected by users, including transit options on how to reach them.

In addition to the app, other resources were developed for those without smartphones, including a web page for each of the tours and a paper brochure with shorter versions of the same tours, according to the Newsletter.

The app is free and available to anyone. It can be found on the iTunes store, Google Play store and through the city’s preservation website by clicking here.