<body> Public Ad Campaign: Recent LA Bus Shelter Takeovers and Panel Discussion
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Monday, June 2, 2014

Recent LA Bus Shelter Takeovers and Panel Discussion

LA Bus Shelter Takeover 2014
Over a month ago I spoke to a group of urban planners, outdoor advertising executives, and concerned Los Angeles residents at a Westside Urban Forum panel titled, "Art and Billboards: What do we want the City of Los Angeles to look like?" I was invited to this discussion by Dennis Hathaway of Ban Billboard Blight, who has become a friend and colleague that I have kept in touch with over the years. It was an opportunity to espouse some of my more "radical" views on how public space should be used, to a group of people who might not normally think about the issue the way I do. This meant going beyond the typical arguments of legality, zoning, and blight that are normally associated with the outdoor advertising debate, to the more pressing question of how is all of this commercial signage effecting our social psyche. 
Inevitably the fact that there could be a fundamental problem with using public space for commercial signage was lost on part of the crowd. People within the outdoor advertising industry obviously have a hard time listening to a model of public space that would eradicate the very business that they work for. That said the audience in general was receptive to the idea that there may be a problem with surrounding ourselves with a repetitive demand to consume at an ever increasing pace, and that public space and the health of our cities might be fundamentally at odds with the type of behavior that outdoor advertising promotes. 
It was an interesting discussion and one I was happy to see the citizens of Los Angeles engaging head on. If only we did this more often and the issue did not seem to be a demand of the "educated media literate class" but rather the concern of every city inhabitant with an interest in retaining a modicum of self determination.
LA Bus Shelter Takeover 2014

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