The dots join up - Birmingham sees the signs

Five years since the scoping project which aimed to help improve the streetscape of Birmingham's extended central core and provide accurate wayfinding information to help walking and public transport, Joining the Dots - Interconnect Birmingham, wayfinding totems have started to appear across the city core.  Indeed Birmingham appears to have caught on late to the totems with cities such as Glasgow, Bristol and London launching theirs ahead of our own.  The London signage can be traced to a 2006 study,, and Birmingham has benefited from the experience of other cities in introducing it's own form of signage and wayfinding.

The £3m Interconnect Project has been shaped by the Big City Plan and the Vision for Movement aimed at making Birmingham a walkable city.  It saw a royalty free map created by Bluesky, costing £86, 765, Interconnect Birmingham - City Mapping & Wayfinding, which was confirmed by City ID with on street research aimed at simplifying the urban layout and road network to make the maps legible for pedestrians to easily use.

An indication of the accessible nature of these new maps was revealed with the new public transport map for the city centre,, released recently following the launch of the new city centre bus interchanges, Bus STOP!  

There will be 24 totems installed initially within the city core following the new bus interchange signage totems which have already provided a significant improvement to pedestrians in navigating the new bus interchanges.  Following this first phase these new wayfinding totems will also be installed in the Jewellery Quarter, Eastside and Digbeth.

Hopefully this will be the second and not final stage of totem installation which I would like to see installed city wide as they are in London.  The totems in London are not simply limited to the main tourist streets and have been installed across different boroughs and provide both a useful function but also an aesthetic coherance to being in London alongside the signage of Transport for London (TFL).

I am very excited to see the totems which I hope will address a niggling annoyance I've always had about the city signage in comparison to other cities.  The signage should challenge the issue for me that the city while being very walkable was hindered it's own permeability by not revealing the ease of walking through it.  There is some irony that the city that built it's road network for cars and was the motor city of the 1960s then subsequently demolished this to return the streets to pedestrians and created public squares didn't then highlight the improvements to residents and visitors through widespread wayfinding.

The photos below show the new totems on 11 October.

Temple Row West

Temple Row - Cathedral Square

Colmore Row


Anonymous said…
We're fortunate to have so many visitors and overseas students in the city and we need to make it easier for them to find their way around - so let's see more totems!

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