Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | May 21, 2018

Council seeks to improve wayfinding signage in city

Mayor to appoint commission to study issue
By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Jun 30, 2017

The Iowa Architectural Foundation’s community design team met Thursday evening with city leaders during a special city council meeting to discuss a wayfinding proposal for the city of Fairfield.

This comes after the Iowa Architectural Foundation researched the community and created strategies to help better inform and direct residents and visitors to the services and amenities within the community using signage.

According to the foundation, wayfinding refers to the way people navigate hallways, streets, buildings and cities. People depend on wayfinding to inform their decisions.

The Iowa Architectural Foundation is comprised of a group of volunteers who have backgrounds in various fields, such as building architecture, landscape architecture and urban design.

Members of the public had an opportunity earlier this month to weigh-in on ways of improving the city’s wayfinding signage. Some community members spoke out about the difficulties they have faced due to lack of proper wayfinding signage throughout the city.

After touring the city and listening to the various suggestions of community members the team developed a process and design strategy.

Although signage is a part of the process, the Iowa Architectural Foundation said it’s only part of the process where wayfinding is concerned.

Landmarks, such as buildings, landscapes, art objects and lighting also play a role.

The foundation offered a variety of suggestions, such as new west and east entrance signage, imagery on iconic rural structures and bridges, and signage and imagery for the trail system and the square and a directional kiosks downtown, among other suggestions.

“We were very excited about many of the proposals, and we feel very committed to making a lot of these proposals work within the community,” said Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, who added that after Thursday’s presentation, he planned to appoint a wayfinding commission to follow up on the ideas that were presented by the Iowa Architectural Foundation.

“That commission will help prioritize what we’re going to take on in the community. They will interact with [city] council, and local tourism-based organization, such as the [Fairfield Iowa] Convention and Visitors Bureau and the [Fairfield Area] Chamber of Commerce to implement the recommendations.”

During the presentation, the foundation called the community of Fairfield a dynamic, robust and engaged community, blessed with a plethora of physical, social, cultural, natural and economic resources that has created a diverse profile, attracting a national audience.

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