Thursday, July 23, 2020

Control of outdoor advertising

The Historical Journal recently published James Greenhalgh's "The Control of Outdoor Advertising, Amenity, and Urban Governance in Britain, 1893–1962". The abstract:
This article examines the control of outdoor advertising in Britain, tracking its development as a mirror of the practices of spatial governance. It evidences both a largely forgotten, yet radical change in the urban environment, whilst also functioning as a lens through which we might examine local government's role in driving change in the visual environment of cities and towns. The article argues that, despite important early work by preservationist organizations, local corporations and councils were the principal drivers of legislation, altering attitudes in central government that ultimately led to stringent control of outdoor advertising in urban space. Beginning in the nineteenth century, but coming to the fore during the interwar period, corporations and councils pushed for ever greater controls over the size and siting of billboards, hoardings, and posters. In doing so, they deployed a language of amenity, and conjured with seemingly social democratic notions of citizens’ rights to push their agenda. The study is thus revealing of the ways in which town planning, patterns of holistic control in the visual environment, and the philosophy of urban modernism shaped even the most mundane, extant urban areas and left a lasting impression on the urban landscape.

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