delete Durham billboards

Fairway Outdoor Advertising’s attempts at wooing City Council into removing the current ban on new billboards may not be going so well. At least, not for Fairway.

The billboard industry suffered a trouncing at the March InterNeighborhood Council meeting, but the City Council vote that will ultimately decide the fate of Durham’s billboards will come later this summer. The persistence of both advertising as a phenomenon and the belief that people are essentially consumers with obligations to subject themselves to advertising in public spaces warrant more discussion, and Fairway’s recent attempts at infiltrating community groups leave the public to wonder why the ad giant doesn’t want a real conversation.

Not only is it becoming clear that the community doesn’t support the attempt to supersaturate the Bull City with corporate advertising, in the process of covering the issue, the Independent has identified and mapped 110 billboards in Durham — 89 of which are permitted and 21 that are not. (Note: Fairway currently owns 45 billboards in Durham.)

If those billboards identified as illegal are not dealt with by “the proper authorities,” then who knows what will happen to them.

Perhaps, someone might by inspired by a recent public art campaign in New York, which reclaimed public space from illegal billboards by whitewashing, then replacing with art.

Alternatively, in Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang, there is a compelling description of what happens to billboards that violate the spirit of community aesthetic.

Whatever the resolution, there’s new stuff to read on

And if you haven’t yet voiced your opinion on whether Durham needs more billboards, just send an email or write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper.

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