North Finchley Wayfinding Action Plan

This strategic guidance sought to establish a new approach to wayfinding in North Finchley to help improve people’s understanding and appreciation of the Town Centre and what it has to offer. Key to this was an emphasis on communicating that North Finchley is not just a through-road, but a thriving community. Developed from community engagement and first-hand mapping, the resulting Action Plan established principles and proposals for a range of wayfinding opportunities.

The Wayfinding Action Plan sought to capitalise on developments planned for the town centre

The Wayfinding Action Plan was part of a wider piece of work; a Creative Placemaking Strategy for North Finchley Town Centre, which we also delivered. Barnet Council appointed us in 2022 to lead the Creative Placemaking Strategy to identify and celebrate North Finchley’s many riches, build local pride, and encourage more people to visit the town centre. More information about the Creative Placemaking work can be found here.

Tally Ho public space, 2023

North Finchley Town Centre is one of Barnet’s largest designated District Centres and is focused along the High Road (A1000) making it essentially linear in form, presenting a challenge to its role as a destination for local communities and visitors. Our challenge was to increase connectivity between the town centre, surrounding green assets, transport and community spaces, whilst strengthening the unique sense of place and identity

Study area (in yellow) with wider wayfinding opportunities

In order to understand the uses, legibility, and potential of the Town Centre, we undertook extensive local engagement. We conducted community surveys and engaged in wider discussions facilitated by interactive engagement tools. Over 150 people responded through a combination of on-street pop-up engagement, online surveys and business surveys.  The on-street engagement included hands-on elements, such as mapping and voting exercises, to draw people in and to start conversations around topics like the identity, community, and future of North Finchley.

Pop-up engagement on the High Road

Our community engagement identified four key messages; that the extent of North Finchley could benefit from clearer definition, that some of the Town Centre could benefit from greater coherency and identity, that public spaces and amenities could be better signposted and that green spaces outside the Town Centre are important places for local people.

Kajal Bains, Dallas-Pierce-Quintero

The community engagement shaped the 10 wayfinding components that the Action Plan proposes could be located throughout the Town Centre and beyond. Each component in this kit of parts is intended to be multifunctional so that it brings additional benefits – a key comment from local feedback. These wayfinding components are organised into four applications which address different needs of the Town Centre; Welcome Gestures announce your arrival in North Finchley, the Town Centre Ribbon brings coherence to the Town Centre, Gathering Space Markers celebrate public spaces and Green Space Pointers signal nearby parks and open spaces. To compliment these, Legible London signage could be added in key locations to orientate visitors.

Welcome Gestures announce your arrival in North Finchley
Green Space Pointers signal nearby parks and open spaces
Gathering Space Markers celebrate public spaces
Town Centre Ribbon brings coherence to the Town Centre

The final draft of the document was consulted on for six weeks in Autumn 2022, with a total of 341 responses received. Learning from previous community engagement on the project, for which we had less feedback from 20-34 year olds than other age groups, we worked to ensure that promotion of the consultation used both traditional methods as well as social media and on-street activity to boost participation. This resulted in a more representative spread of respondents.

Final Action Plan with bespoke graphic identity

Following the completion of the Action Plan, funding was secured to deliver the Gathering Space Markers. We are currently in the pre-construction stage of proposals that will enhance the two main public spaces in the Town Centre by activating the spaces and adding greenery and seating to create more welcoming pause points. These works are scheduled for completion in Summer 2024.

Tally Ho Gathering Space

North Finchley, London 2022-2023

Client: Barnet Council

Collaborator: Stephen Barrett Studio

Next Project Previous Project