Brightening up our high streets

Having high streets which look pleasant rather than grotty should be an aim for local politicians others active in their community. There is the economic reason – businesses tend to do better. There is the safety reason – as the broken windows theory argues and evidence backs up – dealing with grime and grot helps cut crime. There is also a third reason which politicians in particular are often a bit wary of saying, but quite simply having our communities look more pleasant is a desirable end in itself. You do not have to immerse yourself in aesthetic theories to appreciate the value of appearance.

In parts of Bristol there has been some particularly good work at getting street art painted on the shutters of local shops and otherwise bare, ugly walls. This not only brightens up the area, it provides a showcase for artistic talents – and also is an effective tool against graffiti, for once shutters or a wall bear artwork produced by someone in the community, the likelihood of it being covered in tags falls sharply.

Many parts of Canada have a strong tradition of taking this further, with large murals (such as this one featuring Charlie Chaplin illustrates) and decorations to liven up the utility boxes which feature on so many pavements (such as this one from Winnipeg).

Examples of painted utility boxes in the UK are far rarer, though clever pieces of artwork are present on some such as this example in Brixton.

So it was great to see these two examples in Southwark recently, along Borough High Street:

And here also from Borough High Street is what happens when you leave a utility cabinet unadorned:

If you are a councillor, why not try to do something similar in your own patch?

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url for Twitter and emails.


Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User Avatarmalc 25th Nov - 11:35pm
    I also agree with Willie. Lets hope this very worthy rally is well supported and gets the media coverage it deserves.
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 25th Nov - 11:34pm
    Islam is a religion like all others, non perfect, that also counts for agnostics and atheist who believe in their thoughts. Islamists terrorists are still...
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 25th Nov - 11:16pm
    It s true we are entering a WW1 scenario, a war, followed by a carve up that has partly led to the present mess.. Yes...
  • User AvatarSIMON BANKS 25th Nov - 10:55pm
    SJ: If you cannot belong to a party because of the religious beliefs of the leader, you are not a Liberal. You cannot be sure...
  • User AvatarGlenn 25th Nov - 10:38pm
    Ddie, I understand your point, but I'd argue that pragmatism actually suggests not blundering deeper into a mess that has actively worsened the situation in...
  • User AvatarRoland 25th Nov - 10:26pm
    @Jedibeeftrix - I would put it slightly differently... From several decades of experience of working with the Dutch (and other Europeans), I've found them to...