Robert L. Peters

24 April 2008

Saluting São Paulo… blue skies above.

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São Paulo, Brazil

Well, it’s been just over a year now since city officials in Brazil’s teeming metropolis (of officially 11 million, though the last time I was there local designer friends estimated the city’s population at 22 million, including the ever-expanding favelas), took daring and unprecedented action to ban all billboards, neon signs, and outdoor electronic advertising panels. As Rob Maguire of Art Threat puts it: “Billboards have been stripped of their commercial clothing, the stark nakedness of the abandoned frames reminding passers by of the once stolen public space now reclaimed.” Indeed, a beautiful reclaiming of the commons…

Congratulations, and kudos, to the visionary civic leaders of São Paulo… would that other jurisdictions around the world might find the heart and courage to free more of our planet’s over-targeted publics in the same way, and to help reduce the visual pollution that has become such a ubiquitous scourge in our modern age!

Images: cover of Creative Review, and one of the many inspiring photos by Tony DeMarco here.

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