Urban designer Matt Tomasulo has launched Walk [Your City], a website that enables users to generate custom street signs in order to improve walkability of their neighborhood. Main objectives of the platform are building a local sense of community and helping citizens becoming more engaged.
Another important reason for Tomasulo to build Walk [Your City] is to stimulate people to exercise more, for instance by taking a simple walk. “In 1960, 1:4 citizens took one useful, 10-minute walk each day. Now that number is 1:10”, he explains. The website is built around a handy tool that allows everyone to create custom street signs based on walkability. Users draw a route between two points and the tool automatically calculates the walk or cycle minutes from A to B, as well as generates a good-looking sign. A QR code in the bottom corner links to a mobile website that displays the entire walking route.
Users can order their custom-made signs, which is rather expensive. One sign costs you $25 including shipping — that’s not cheap if you take into account the chance that your beautiful sign will be removed after a short while by some enthusiast policeman. Nevertheless, Walk [Your City] could turn out a great way for people to guide others to great places, such as a new bar, a street intervention or an event that would be hard to find otherwise.
The platform once started as a guerrilla project in Raleigh comprising of 27 street signs in three zones of the city. The signs caught the eye of city officials who considered making them permanent. However, they didn’t like the design of the signs. A year later, the City of Raleigh officially adopted the program and incorporated it into its city-marketing. With the launch of the Walk [Your City] website, Tomasulo gives the rest of the world the opportunity to add a user-generated layer of wayfinding to cities.