What's worse than a rash of Romero Britto sculptures sprouting up all over Miami? How about advertisements on city parking kiosks, fire hydrants, and even trees?
Thursday City of Miami commissioners are voting on an ordinance that will permit advertising on city-owned fixtures and facilities.
The measure was introduced to generate more revenue for the city, specifically Miami transit programs. Miami Parking Authority Executive Director Art Noriega told the Miami Herald that "the plan is to sell advertising that would wrap around the parking pay stations."
But the ordinance's current wording would permit ads on much more structures, even trees that fall on public land.
In direct contrast to cities like São Paolo, Brazil, which outlawed all outdoor advertising in 2006, Miami, as well as the entire state, is intent on filling pubic space with private messages.
Miami city commissioners recently approved LED billboards on the Miami Children’s Museum, the James L. Knight Center, and the historic Gusman theater, which was recently voted one the 100 best buildings in Florida.
But will Miamians even notice the sudden increase in what some call "visual pollution"? After all, the average American already takes in about 5,000 advertising messages every day.
Consider street artist Banksy's advertising rant, recently spread around the web, as excerpted from his 2004 book "Cut It Out":
Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
F*** that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.
There's no doubt that the city desperately needs revenue. It faces a deficit for the fourth straight year -- next year hovering around $35 million in the hole.
But should the city start selling off our cityscape? Weigh in below.
(Flickr photo by Joiseyshowaa.)
UPDATE: City commissioners unanimously voted to kill the ordinance permitting ads on city-owned facilities and fixtures during Thursday meeting, reports the Miami Herald, but Commissioner Marc Sarnoff said it would likely return with a clearer definition of where ads would be placed.