Monday, March 30, 2009

Billboard War


The good people of Los Angeles are in the middle of a nasty dust up over the regulation of billboards.  The long-running dispute pits the planning commission and City Council against the region's well-heeled outdoor advertising industry. Christopher Hawthorne of the LA Times summarizes:

City Hall lawyers signed off on a 2006 legal settlement allowing more than 800 billboards to be turned into digital signs, and separately has been mostly powerless to slow the growth of supergraphics, those gigantic wraparound advertisements that are capable of mummifying entire pieces of architecture. As parts of the battle play out in court, complicated by free-speech questions, billboard companies have rushed to put up as many new signs as they can. The result is a legal and political mess, to be sure.

Although I have a lot of symphathy for the advertising geniuses who put up all those Wall Drug signs across South Dakota, the constant assault of visual clutter makes me wonder if we wouldn't be better off going the way of Sao Paulo.

Picture:  Upton, Kentucky

Steve Clowney

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