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City wayfinding gets visitor friendly revamp

Norfolk County Council, 21 August 2023 00:00

A network of new signs is being put in place across the city centre to help people explore Norwich easily and get the most out of the destinations on offer.

The 'minilith' designs are tall and thin metal signs with two maps on both sides. One is orientated from the perspective of the person looking at it, showing detailed information of destinations within a three-minute walk, and the other shows where the person is located in the wider area and in relation to eight wayfinding districts.

The districts cover the 'Creative Quarter (over the water)' to the north; the Cathedral Quarter to the east; the King Street Quarter, Business District and Riverside to the south; Chapelfield and Norwich Lanes to the west and the Castle and Market Place district in the centre. Norwich train station, bus station, the market and several other landmark buildings are shown using icons for clarity.

Landmark buildings are also featured on the three-minute walk maps to help people orientate themselves by relating features on the maps to what they can see nearby.

Councillor Graham Plant, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, at Norfolk County Council, said, "There's so much to see and do in Norwich that it's important we help visitors explore the full extent of what the city has to offer. These new signs will do just that by being strategically placed, intuitive to read and regularly spaced enough to direct people clearly to where they want to go.

"We're delighted to have been able to fund this through the Transforming Cities money awarded to us by central government. By working alongside Norwich Business Improvement District and Norwich City Council, the wayfinding system will now be an accessible and enjoyable guide to our city for everyone to enjoy."

More than 50 destinations have been included having been selected jointly by the County Council, Norwich City Council and Norwich BID/Visit Norwich based on awareness of how many people are visiting places, asking how to get to them or are prominent in visitor itineraries.

Stefan Gurney, Executive Director, Norwich Business Improvement District (BID), said, "In the heart of Norwich city centre, the introduction of new wayfinding is part of our transformative journey. These wayfinding totems guide our residents and visitors, creating a more accessible, engaging, and welcoming urban experience. Established through best practice research and refined through pilot installations by Norwich BID, the wayfinding scheme illustrates our commitment to elevating the city centre experience."

Councillor Mike Stonard, Leader of Norwich City Council, said, "Our fine city has so many great places and we want people to be able to find them. Norwich is a wonderful city to explore, whether you live here and know it well, or for those visiting for the first time. The wayfinding signs also help to promote different forms of sustainable travel, while at the same time providing a glimpse of what our amazing city can offer."

Initial research for the current project was carried out by Norwich BID in 2017 to work out the best approach to wayfinding in the city based on best practice elsewhere. It found that the current system of finger posts and large totems was confusing, hard to maintain and a poor use of space. The consistent use of miniliths was recommended and this approach was trialled in 12 locations.

Norfolk County Council was able to fund the full project through the Transforming Cities Fund programme, which has including decluttering of old signs, refurbishing existing miniliths where needed and putting in place the full new wayfinding system across the city centre. Designed by Norwich City Council, the new signs are all due to be in place by the end of the month.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:46

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