2013 - Our first (half) Year in Review
2013 was a roller coaster of a year. Two years ago today, the initial Walk Raleigh signs were shared with The Atlantic Cities by Raleigh citizen Andy Little, and posted as "Guerrilla Wayfinding in Raleigh" by Emily Badger.
At that point, AC was still a very young blog. A year after sharing Walk Raleigh, AC had 100,000 unique monthly readers, and now that number is over 300,000. Interest in cities is definitely on the rise - especially with the tech world getting interested with companies like Uber and Waze attracting serious money. Autos are an obvious entry for the tech world into the urban/civic conversation and it will be interesting to see how the conversation evolves to accommodate a shifting demand towards “more choice” when it comes to transit.
Looking all the way back to 2012, we were ecstatic about our successful Kickstarter project, and the opportunity our backers provided for us to share the Walk Raleigh project across the globe under the name Walk [Your City]. You can always dream, but we never had any idea or ambition for Walk [Your City] to become a real business. By the end of 2012, 60+ communities had used or remixed our online template to install their own campaigns across the globe.
It was not until early 2013 that we started to see potential opportunity to make Walk [Your City] something a little bit bigger. We incorporated Walk [Your City] in April and I started working on WYC full-time by late-June. My other project, CityFabric, which was also Kickstarted, has been mostly automated by teaming up with a great logistics partner. Automating CF allowed me to commit 100% of my time to help realize the true potential of WYC. Now six month in, I am more excited than ever about the future of human mobility.
What follows is a simple chronology of what happened over the past year, and really serves more as a personal catalogue of 2013 than anything else. Not all the following snippets are WYC events as I just could not leave out certain life milestones, like my engagement to the most wonderful partner in life, Nicole.
The following is a chronological list of 2013 happenings. Never hesitate to get in touch -> firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @walkyourcity -> Cheers.
Walk Raleigh included as a top campaign in Raleigh Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan ( business plan for providing city services to constituents!)
Started a shared workspace with CompostNow called BLDG Co.
CityFabric Labs is a home base for all my creative / civic musings.
Walk Raleigh / Walk [Your City] are a chapter in the TED City 2.0 book.
Proposed a beach on some underutilized land in downtown Raleigh. Media caught wind of it and it snowballed into awesomeness and coat tails that I am continuing to ride. (more to come on that this summer :p)
Development starts on the WYC Sign Builder with the talented Chris Roth.
The Sign Builder, based on our original template, started to come to life.
Kickstarter flew me up to NYC in May to showcase WYC at the IDEAS CITY festival.
While at IDEAS CITY, we created our first sign campaign with our online Sign Builder in only 48 hours - from design to manufacturing to installation. Check out the fun video we made!
I was invited to check out Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project in Las Vegas.
5-25-2013 - NICOLE SAID YES ON THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN IN ASHEVILLE, NC!!!!!! #weddingtofollow
Communities started reaching out about creating campaigns. The first was North Hills - an emerging neighborhood / commercial center in Raleigh.
We worked with Mount Hope, WV - a 1200 person town that has never been able to afford signage, let alone pedestrian signage. Check out a fantastic video about Walk [Mount Hope]!
Mayor Trace Cooper looked to WYC campaign because they have a bike/ped plan that they are currently unable to act on. They saw WYC as a great, affordable way to take action, support visiting tourists, and promote walk/bike travel in downtown. Citizens loved it!
On the heals of community interest, we incorporated as a real company.
GOOD invited us to chat with their Global Fellows - it was fun! #skypedate
We invited 200 beta users to make two free signs on our Sign Builder.
We were blown away by how quickly the beta signs were claimed! Over 30 countries were represented by our Beta Users.
I was able to share WYC with Canada a couple times via podcast / radio - this was my favorite - Michael Beirut from Pentagram was interviewed for the same segment!! (we thought that was pretty cool).
After Beta users, we soft launched “purchasing signs”
Action Greensboro crowd-funded a campaign in one day!
And installed the campaign less than three weeks later! (it got a bunch of press too!)
Students in Brazil crowd-funded a Portuguese WYC campaign
Downtown Middlesboro invited WYC to their Better Block. WYC Signs were a big part of their program. Mike Lydon and I deployed some “tactical urbanisms” together.
On halloween, Creative Santa Fe created and installed the largest WYC project to date - 124 signs in a downtown district.
In November, I was invited to give a TEDxRaleigh Talk. "Tale of a Tactic"
At the end of December, we were awarded the Public Interest Design Global Award (which includes an all-expense paid trip to Paris in mid-April 2014 to present WYC at the Ecole Special D’Archtiecrure in partnership with Design Corp).
Needless to say, I am looking forward to 2014!