27 August 2009

Street Banners Gone Bad

What is wrong with this picture?

Look closely. This photo shows a banner that can be found on telephone poles throughout the Summit neighborhood of my hometown in Canton, Ohio (a Midwestern city struggling to find it's way in the post-industrial world). This banner is similar to banners found in "redeveloping" areas throughout the city.

What we see here is a fantastic demonstration of best intentions gone seriously wrong. The banners were deployed by the previous Mayoral administration (Janet Creighton) to "spruce" up and give struggling communities and "fresh image." Does this banner say "This an up and coming place, or a "we're a family friendly neighborhood," or a "proud historic community"?

Sadly, their poor design only drives home the point that the neighborhood is not up and coming. Not that the "rear entry" video store nearby helps any, but the banner pictured doesn't either. If you look closely, you'll see this banner depicts a mountain "summit." There are no mountains or mountainous features in this neighborhood or all of Northeast Ohio. The banner is comically out of scale. The banner is attached to a telephone poll, almost as an afterthought.

Moral of the story: Banners can be effective in creating an image for a place. But what the folks behind this banner scheme did not realize is that they are (1) only part of a solution (along with other improvements) and (2) if they are implemented badly (like this) they do more harm than good.

No comments:

Post a Comment