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Akron - Downtown

Akron, OH

Akron is a city with a rich industrial heritage and a promising future. Home to both Goodyear and Firestone tire companies, it’s been rightly nicknamed the “Rubber City.” But that tag more appropriately describes its ability to build on its history, bouncing back to become one of Newsweek’s top ten “High Tech Havens” in 2001. Situated where the Ohio and Erie Canal intersects with the Cuyahoga River, the hilly topography alone requires clear direction and orientation, since walking or driving can be challenging for residents and visitors. Twenty one distinct neighborhoods surround downtown, completing a rich cultural tapestry.

Our project process included direct involvement from the Mayor’s office, the University of Akron and other major stakeholders. The first task? Develop a system to identify neighborhoods, then focus on the downtown. This clearly demonstrated a vision to showcase all that Greater Akron has to offer, both to residents and visitors.

How can a wayfinding system unify the culture of a city on the rise? First, by identifying primary destinations and creating a system whereby Akronites “speak to wayfinding” in the same way. Once determined, that language is displayed in a variety of media: from wayfinding signage for vehicles and pedestrians to weekly email newsletters featuring Akron destinations and events.