Back to Top


May 5, 2016


Pittsburgh, PA

Right in the middle of Pittsburgh’s East End, on the border between the Polish Hill and North Oakland neighborhoods, there’s a strip of green running under the towering Bloomfield Bridge. There used to be more houses here, and more street, but not these days. To the chagrin of residents over the years, the city routinely canvassed the area with some sort of broad-spectrum defoliant, in an effort to… I don’t know actually, keep the trees tamed from inside a truck?

Folks have actually been planting and tending the trees there for over two decades now, and mowing the grass along the road – not to mention growing food, raising families, and other occupations not conducive to being exposed to something akin to Agent Orange. Since I’ve lived in this city, I’ve seen a couple generations of these homemade “NO SPRAY” signs. In the last few years, the monarch-themed “No Spray Zone” metal signs, designed by residents in communication with the city and spray crews, have apparently gone a long way towards keeping unwanted chemical saturation at bay.




DIYDPW is a semi-weekly blog post highlighting global examples of Do It Yourself Department of Public Works projects. These are defined as any examples of municipal signage or infrastructure, generated by citizens outside of state-sanctioned means, that fulfill a perceived need in the area within which they are installed. I focus specifically on street signage and way-finding graphics, and I take contributions from our readers! Got a photo of a great handmade or otherwise DIY sign that fixes a problem the local municipality had otherwise overlooked? Send it my way. Email (include a web-ready image and location found) to DIYDPW at gmail dot com

Environment & ClimateHousing & Cities

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posts by Shaun Slifer

More By Shaun Slifer