Sunday, May 25, 2008

A book on preventing graffiti and vandalism

Until I did a bit of Googling, I had no idea this book existed - "Preventing graffiti and vandalism".

Here is a crucial quote for members of the general public (like you and me):

Wilson concludes that it came down to people's lack of a feeling of ownership - and therefore lack of responsibility - for the welfare of public parts of an estate. One solution would be instilling this sense of ownership.

Ownership - a lot of the problems that we have with cleaning up our built environment can be traced back to that word.  Why should I bother with chasing up say Energy Australia to clean up a substation when I don't own it?

Don't take the attitude that you don't own it.  It's public property - it is owned by the state, which means it is owned by all of us, and none of us.  I don't take that view anymore - I take the view that my taxes paid for that substation, so although I own about one five-millionth of it, I am going to take responsibility for that part of it which faces the public - the outer layer.  Forget about owning the innards of that substation, or the structure of that concrete road bridge.  We, the tax paying public, or the nearby residents, we own the outside surface.  We own it because we have to look at it.  It does not belong to vandals.  It belongs to what used to be termed "the respectable middle and lower classes".   

It is ours.  We are responsible for it.  If you think you qualify for membership of the "respectable middle class", then stick up for your surroundings and make those responsible for vandalised or degraded property take an interest in cleaning it up.  

Don't wait for the State.  You'll be waiting a very long time.

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