problems with graffiti in your city?

The “solution” is to create graffiti parks. And don’t choose isolated and thus unsafe locations- bright, accessible and prominent places.

This makes sense to me, partly because many communities have built skate parks because many people wanted to skateboard. It doesn’t matter if a lot of locals and administration does not like graffiti or skateboarding – there is a legitimate and talented community that does.

On my interests of community leveraging arts economies, I think an active street artists scene is actually a boon waiting to happen for cities. I think any sustained community activity in a public and accessible space will “stimulate economic growth”.

In many poor neighbourhoods, such as mine, there are many abandoned, empty and neglected buildings and industry. There are ugly cracking grey concrete walls and billboards with advertising for beer and cars. There are empty store fronts and empty parking spots with grimy meters. This is a world without art, without community-friendly space.

If you designate many unused and suitable places for street art you create an industry for your community immediately. This replaces the current industry of law enforcement that presently manages this cultural asset, but largely is a net drain and unproductive. There are supplies to be bought, there are tourists coming with cameras. There is activity and there is marketing for the neighbourhood. It costs very little and the returns are very positive.

The Milky Way alley in Toronto is full of street art and is very popular, for example.

Yet, there is a perception that street artists are the problem somehow – the problem is cities, clearly, as graffiti is much older.

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