Wayfinding & Placemaking the City of Long Beach California

Great Cities must celebrate their legacy and reinvent for the future. Driving economic success in conjunction with creating a vibrant, safer, and more enticing experience is the key to reinventing and revitalizing a city, making the city relevant to residents, businesses, and tourists alike. 

The challenge cities, counties, and other municipalities face is an all too common and continuous situation of decaying facilities, and infrastructure and along with it, decreased financial resources with which to serve their community.

The City of Long Beach, CA has met this challenge head-on to efficiently facilitate the strategic revitalization of their beautiful city. Through cooperation, collaboration, talent, and experience, public and private officials have united with only one objective: the successful implementation of their shared vision for their community.

The City and the Down Town Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) engaged the services of Selbert Perkins Design to help them understand and define their wayfinding needs, develop both vehicle and pedestrian wayfinding programs and assist them in creating a sense of place for the reimagined City of Long Beach.  Their goal is to enhance the visitor experience, create a unified identity and improve pedestrian connectivity within Downtown Long Beach.

“This is such a supportive city”, remarked Selbert Perkins Design co-founding Partner, Cliff Selbert. “One major challenge you typically face is in getting project consensus and approvals.  One of the things that struck me about Long Beach was what a collaborative group they are. Public and private officials all working together to quickly and seamlessly come to an agreement by cooperating in a way that enabled a highly successful project, which was completed on time, on budget, and to the delight of all.”

The first phase of any project is in gathering data from the community. Through multiple surveys and analyzing the mountains of data, we were able to quantify specific needs and formulate priorities.  A resounding message we received was that it was difficult to find your way around downtown via existing vehicle wayfinding as well as the non-existent pedestrian system.  A functional wayfinding system should be able to quickly and easily show you where you are, where you want to go, how to get there and how long it should take.  

One of Long Beach’s biggest attractions is of course, the beach.  Assisting pedestrians and drivers alike in easily and safely finding their way to the beach and the waterfront, which is currently being renovated along with new hotels, restaurants and attractions, was one of the primary goals.  City officials are planning to roll out this program throughout its other neighborhoods, further helping their diverse community thrive.

Another result of the research was that people had a difficult time knowing when they were in Long Beach and when they were not.  Adjacent neighborhoods blending together created an indistinguishable sense of place. To address this, Selbert Perkins Design created beautiful and unique city Gateways, in order for visitors and residents to connect with the identity of Long Beach.

And this is but only the beginning. Downtown, Waterfront, Neighborhoods, and Metrolink, are all in progress to make Long Beach, already an inclusive community, even better.

Congratulations to the public and private leaders of the City of Long Beach, for uniting their efforts to reimagine their city and continuously endeavoring to create a better experience for their citizens, businesses, and those lucky enough to visit this wonderful and unique place.



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