Barcelona cracks down on ‘visual pollution’ of billboards

Barcelona cracks down on 'visual pollution' of billboards
Photo of a billboard in Barcelona. Photo: mingusmutter/Flickr Creative Commons.
Barcelona's left-wing mayor is throwing out one in five street advertisements to free the city of "visual pollution".

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau's plan will reduce the number of spaces for commercial advertisements in the streets in order to do away with “the pollution of publicity”, according to local Catalan newspaper Ara.

The plan will cut down on advertisements along public roads by 20 percent and decrease the number of spaces from 2,194 to 1,884 available spots. According to news agency Efe, many of those removed will be illuminated billboards, often associated with bus stops and metro stations.

So as not to lose any of the city's annual revenues on the endeavour, Colau's government said it will increase the price for adverts from €10.5 million a year to at least €12 million.

“Barcelona is a city that is very contaminated with advertising – double what is seen in other Spanish and European cities,” deputy mayor Gerardo Pisarello told Efe last week, adding that the goal is to “be able to enjoy the public scenery in a more pleasant way, with less suffocation and without it affecting municipal earnings.”

The plan must undergo a period of public review for 30 days before being adopted, according to Ara.
Reducing the amount of advertisements in the city is part of an overall mission from Colau's government to de-commercialize the city, from declaring war on Airbnb with tighter restrictions, to suspending tourist accommodation licenses.

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