LA’s got more than just a smog problem


Los Angeles has some of if not the worst pollution in the United States. According to Daily New Los Angeles “Despite improvements over the years, the Los Angeles area remains the most ozone-polluted region in the country, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Lung Association.”

But now they have a new pollution to deal with. Ever since City Attorney Rocky Delgadilio was elected there has been tons of advertising construction and it’s not your basic billboard. There have been over 900 new digital billboards installed throughout the city. Buildings in downtown LA are being covered with massive supergraphics. It’s so out of control one company has created a tag-line based in this foolishness. SkyTag a local LA company claims, “Our supergraphics can be seen from space!” It has become such an infestation that City Attorney Delgadilio and the City Council are trying to reverse what they have started. Natives are saying that it has become a serious problem. Distracting bright signs that change every few seconds could become a hazard to the thousands of LA commuters. Many LA natives are complaining about the light pollution caused at night. Some have even compared it to the sci-fi flick Blade Runner.

The local government is drafting a new ordinance that would effectively ban all new public advertising projects and install new restrictions on completed ones. This problem has ruffled some feathers but brought up some interesting points. Designers are the force behind this whether they know it or not. Think about it an architect designed the billboard itself. Someone designed the product that is being sold on the billboard. A graphic designer had to design the actual ad. Even an urban planner had to at least approve the billboard placement. So this essentially is our fault. Yes someone commissioned or contracted our work but we agreed to contribute to this. So we are responsible. My initial thought would be, to not try to deceive people into buying things. But unfortunately I don’t believe this country is ready for that especially LA of all cities.

California has been a forerunner in the sustainable effort in the United States. Why should one of the major cities in that state go directly against that image? Has anyone thought about how much energy these boards waste? To have them flashing all day and night must be costing the city a small fortune. Or how many materials are wasted on large supergraphics? There is one question that could be asked. Why do these signs need to be digital? They don’t, if it’s such a problem the city should just revoke them. LA is already such a congested city in every other way possible. Do they really need to populate the area with massive changing signs or even massive supergraphics? Just because we have the ability to do something doesn’t mean we should.

Reference Article: http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=8227

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