I discovered CityFabric last year when I was putting together a quickly made irrelevant post on the proliferation, profanity and absolute awesomeness of crowd-sourced funding schemes.
In April 2011, these guys launched a project through Kickstarter to sell t-shirts and other apparel with the screen-printed image of Raleigh,NC’s Nolli Map. Since the ridiculously huge success of this initiative in Raleigh, CityFabric is now producing products with similar maps for Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Durham, Manhattan, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC.
I’ve expressed my belief in the power of the T before and according to their website, “CityFabric is a simple tool to bring the discussion of cities and urban design to the general public. Our maps are a very easy way for people to tell a story about where they live. Communicating the process of change and design in the built environment is crucial for inspiring people to get involved in the decisions that determine the direction of their city… the more people talk about their place, the more they will get involved in their community.” (Damn, I really should’ve gone to Pitchfork last year..)
CityFabric has also branched out into more direct placemaking and civic co-creation actions or what they call “civic minded projects fueled by civic-minded products.”
Walk Raleigh, a super simple guerrilla project, placed 27 wayfinding signs in 3 Raleigh, NC intersections to highlight and promote the walkability of the area. The project has attracted great media attention (set to be featured on BBC News and NPR ) and though it was taken down by the city, it was so well recevied by the community, the project has made its way onto the Raleigh City Council meeting agenda for this Tuesday, March 6th.
The Atlantic Cities says, “This is tactical urbanism at its best: a fly-by-night citizen-led escapade whose whimsy could ultimately prompt real improvements to city amenities”. The project reminds me of that image of a friend of a friend renaming streets at Burning Man last year and gives fervor to my ideas that this temporary city of super active citizens (it's going to be so interesting to see who/how the population is this year) is full of urban improvement lessons for more permanent environments.