Defining Raleigh's Neighborhoods
Raleigh is a rapidly growing southern city in North Carolina. Its neighborhoods have been shifting, growing, and disappearing over the past 50 years. When I started to research Raleigh’s neighborhoods in 2021, I found that a single cohesive map of Raleigh downtown neighborhoods doesn’t exist yet. All the maps I found in my research were incomplete and tended to focus on the protected, historically white neighborhoods over the lesser known historically Black neighborhoods.
Before I could even start illustrating, I had to identify every neighborhood so all downtown communities were honored and represented. For several months I walked every quadrant of Raleigh and interviewed residents in person and asked them to outline their neighborhoods on my ipad, which I cross referenced with official documentation from local historians and professors in the area.
I ultimately identified over 30 neighborhoods. While exploring, I photographed visual motifs in architecture and foliage so every inch of my map would align with the physical motifs of the neighborhoods themselves.
Capturing Neighborhood Character
I hand-lettered the names of the 30+ neighborhoods I identified in an effort to capture the *vibe* if you will of each location. I drew inspiration from signs, historic hand lettering, and local designers.
Bringing each neighborhood to life
I drew from the shops, architecture, traditions, foliage, history, and geography unique to each neighborhood to fill the map with dense illustrations. Every element on the map is there for a reason.
After feedback from local Raleigh residents and local historian Carmen Cauthen, the map is produced and ready to distribute.
Vignettes of National Park trips across five years.