Friday, November 19, 2010

Beauty Creates Strong Community Attachment

Pittsburgh Skyline (photo by Flickr user jmd41280 creative commons license)

While it seems intuitive that a community characterized by beauty and green spaces might be attractive to residents, researchers are now establishing the critical nature of aesthetics to community attachment and well-being. In fact, extensive research conducted by Gallup and The Knight Foundation for the Knight Soul of The Community project has shown that aesthetics is one of the three most important qualities in determining community attachment. Beauty, along with openness and social offerings, was consistently rated by residents as a key driver for community attachment ahead of other areas such as local economy, leadership and safety.

These important findings buttress additional research conducted recently. (See for example this study conducted by Richard Florida for the Martin Prosperity Institute.) The research conducted Soul of the Community Project has also shown that that beauty and the other key drivers of community attachment also correlate highly with local economic growth. So for community leaders looking to inspire passion and loyalty in residents as well as growing the local economy, fostering policies and programs that lead to good aesthetics and green spaces is a great place to start.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Montreal Borough Set to Remove Billboards

One of 45 billboards ordered to be removed (photo: CBC)

Council members of Montreal's Plateau Mont-Royal borough have banned new billboards and ordered the removal of existing ones within one year. In response to this call for scenic improvements, the outdoor industry has promised a lenghty legal fight: "We won't stop, and we will get to the end and citizens will pay. That's for sure," says their attorney.

Don't count the borough impressed by the threat to raid the public treasury. City attorneys have given the okay to proceed and City Councilor Alex Norris remarked, "We're not going to be moved by such threats. We're here to represent the public interest and the public is solidly behind us on this initiative."

Monday, November 8, 2010

More Billboard Clutter to Blight Pheonix Highways?

Putting aside a Pheonix City ordinance limiting billboards, a Board of Adjustments decision threatens to blight uncluttered vistas along Pheonix freeways. A Pheonix Planning Commissioner is fighting to uphold the integrity of the ordinance and is seeking to appeal the Board of Adjustments decision in the courts.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Billboards in Unincorporated Areas Threaten Chicagoland Communities

Incorporated communities like Homer Glen are concerned about a proposal to allow digital billboards without public hearing in unincorporated Will County, the Chicago Tribune reports.

As city officials note, billboards outside city limits can still have negative impacts upon a community. Interestingly, Texas allows most cities to regulate billboards in adjacent unincorporated areas. In fact, 59 billboards erected illegally in Houston's "extra-jurisdictional" territory will be taken down under court order.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Proposal for Billboard in Boston's Savin Hill Pulled

Fierce local opposition forces billboard company to pull proposal from Boston's Savin Hill neighborhood.

"City Councillor Maureen Feeney said that the billboard proposal would have a “devastating impact” on the neighborhood and the people who have tried for over 25 years to beautify it," reports the Dorchester Reporter.