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2007 03 30
Furnishing Toronto’s Streetscape
To say that Toronto's street amenities like its newspaper boxes, litter bins, and advertising kiosks are often ugly and visually intrusive is to understate the obvious. Sadly, it is surprising how quickly Torontonians learn to ignore these blights. Maybe it is a survival tactic -- if we pretend they don't exist then we won't have to deal with them.

To add further insult, some years ago a free market solution funded by advertising was offered as a panacea to the problem. It didn't work. Why? The public realm - paid for by our tax dollars and the result of thousands of civic choices -- is not one large advertising surface. When we start to treat it as a commodity for ads then we devalue the contribution previous generations have made to create a social space that represents who we are as a culture. We are not the sum of a bunch of hair product brands.

Thanks to the hard work of a number of local individuals, groups, politicians, and reporters (Dave, Matt, etc., thanks!) the city decided to restrict the access advertisers have to our streets. Better yet, they decided that if advertisers want any access to our streets then they will have to give us the highest quality amenities possible. A competition was launched. The following are some of the offerings. Are they worthy of our public realm?

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For more information on the competition, go to this City of Toronto link.
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 03/30 at 12:24 PM

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