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February 15, 2005

It had to happen sooner or later. Technology similiar to that found in projects like Grafedia and YellowArrow will now be used to the buff’s advantage. Mirroring the interactive and participatory aspects of those projects the premise of this new system is simple — take a picture of graffiti and then watch it disappear. The article found at the BBC puts it like this:

Lewisham Council’s Head of Environment Nigel Tyrell has been developing a system that allows the public to see problems solved before their very eyes.
From Monday, anyone living in the south-east London borough can take a snap using their camera phone of the many problems that blight London’s roads, such as graffiti or fly-tipping and send it to the council.
Then all they have to do is keep an eye on the new Love Lewisham website to see a photo of the cleaned-up area.

Timed to correspond with the Valentine holiday, the Love Lewisham campaign gives local residents an opportunity to save their beloved community from the perils of graffiiti. Interestingly enough, it seems to offer only one “solution” to a problem that is not so easily defined. Rather than open up a dialogue about public space, the initiative capitalizes on the fact that, as Tyrell puts it, “Most people just want to live their lives and only contact the council if something goes wrong.”
Not only does the project use some of the same technology that fuels participatory street art-documentation projects, it’s also being pitched with some of the same grassroots-democracy rhetoric! The program claims to offer residents a “voice” in their community, and, Tyrell notes that the ” success of this new system depends on the response of local people. ”
You never know, perhaps the locals of Lewisham will flood the new webpage with pictures of advertisments that they would like to see eliminated. One can only hope — unless you live in or around Lewisham.


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