community · creativity · Social

Walking to learn about your environment better

With gas prices going through the roof, many people are taking to walking more. But after being car-focused in our navigation for decades, it can be unusual for people to know how to get around by walking and how long it will take them. One student from Raleigh, North Carolina, has an idea:

On a rainy night in January, urban planning student Matt Tomasulo and two fellow schemers positioned 27 signs in three strategic locations across central Raleigh. In bold, authoritative letters, each sign indicates the number of minutes it would take for a pedestrian to reach a particular, popular destination.

And for the directionally challenged, the otherwise spartan signs are equipped with a high-tech surprise. By scanning the signs with a smartphone, pedestrians can receive a specially tailored Google Map that will keep them on the right path.

Tomasulo and his colleagues at City Fabric have dubbed their effort Walk Raleigh, and have submitted the project to the Spontaneous Interventions competition, a contest sponsored by the Institute for Urban Design. In terms of impressing judges, the group is off to a good start: far from being displeased by Tomasulo’s guerrilla antics, the city of Raleigh has expressed interest in permanently incorporating Walk Raleigh’s signs into the city’s landscape.

see more at A Walk to Remember.

I’m glad the city of Raleigh is encouraging this, and I hope it catches on in other places. I think it’s great to share our knowledge of neighborhoods with others and let them get to know their cities and environments a little bit better. Plus it’s just fun.

Have you seen similar signs in other cities? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Advertisements