Gillian Harvey is an information design instructor at the Department of Art and Design, University of Alberta. A project-based art director, her core capabilities include clear language, data visualisation, standards and procedural information, wayfinding and signage, typography, and document design.
Tuesday 8 April: Information environments
The Edmonton Wayfinding Project
The city of Edmonton, Alberta, is a small core city, surrounded by a vast growth of suburban sprawl. The city is growing at an amazing rate and is disjointed. There are lots of mini neighborhoods and pockets of suburbanism that are disconnected from each other. One arm doesn’t know what the other arm is doing.
When people visit a new location, they are looking for a sense of experience. It can be pleasant, confusing, dull, unwelcoming or frustrating. If a designer’s job is to guide people to and from areas, with minimal disturbance, then we have some work to do.
There was a plan in the 1980s that set some guidelines for a wayfinding system in Edmonton. Between then and now, a vast labyrinth of underground tunnels has emerged, and a lack of integration between above and below ground space.
The Edmonton Wayfinding Project started last year as a project proposal to remap the pedway system. The response was overwhelming. Our team comprises writers, designers, social advocates, urbanists and wayfinding designers. Most importantly, we get things done by mobilizing the right groups of people.
While wayfinding isn’t in the average Edmontonian's vocabulary yet, anyone who has been lost in our pedways and has seen our preliminary work, understands its benefit. We expect that we will be able to effect change by keeping this much-needed conversation going about what good wayfinding will do for our City.