In 2012, 'Walk Raleigh' posted 27 unofficial way-finding signs on existing poles and posts across downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.

Guerrilla Way-finding in Raleigh, North Carolina

date Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

In January, 2012, a group of activists calling themselves ‘Walk Raleigh’ attached inexpensive, light-weight way-finding signs across tight posts in downtown Raleigh with zip-ties. The signs, which indicate direction and walking-time to nearby places of interests, are meant to foster neighborhood and place identities through crowd-sourced labeling, and to encourage walking in downtown Raleigh. The city government initially deemed the signs illegal and removed them. Following public outcry and a petition that garnered 1300 signatures, the city replaced the removed signs in a pilot program. Media attention spurred activist Matt Tumasulo to expand the reach of the mission of the campaign in the spring of that year beginning with a kickstarted campaign that created the ‘Walk {Your City]’ organization. In addition to the proliferation of ‘guerrilla way-finding’ in Raleigh spurred by ‘Walk Raleigh’, ‘Walk [Your City]’ has spread the movement across the United States with a website that assists activists with starting their own campaigns, making and printing signs (a service which ‘Walk [Your City]’ provides for as little as $20 for a 12×12 inch sign), the integration of QR codes to deliver more information to pedestrians, and several case studies from around the country.

While not a physical transformation of the urban environment, this way finding has sought to create a ‘sense of place’ by defining districts and neighborhoods and by driving changes in the patterns of use of urban streets to become more pedestrian in nature.

Image: (c) Matt Tumasulo (Permission pending)