St. Pauli, Hamburg’s notorious red light district, is famous for its bars, shows and night life. The area is crowded during the weekends, and when the beer flows freely you also gotta get rid of it at some point. Among the swathes of people you find on a night in St. Pauli, some don’t take the effort to look for a public restroom — no, they just empty themselves at a wall of the nearest building.
To stop this behavior the initiative IG St. Pauli came up with an idea: painting the walls with hydrophobic gloss paint, which is very water-repellent. When people pee on it the pee splashes back. As a warning message the organization installed signs that say “Do not pee here. We pee back”. What happens when people carry on regardless can be seen here.
What seems like a humorous way of dealing with this certain problem is actually part of a bigger initiative called Reeperbahn+. This project plans to turn the Reeperbahn and the surrounding area into a ‘Business Improvement District’ in order to strengthen St. Pauli’s role as a tourist attraction and to capitalize the entertainment quarter even more. Improving the cleanliness of the streets, changing the image of St. Pauli and standardizing the marketing concept are just some of the planned steps. The program shows some similarities with Amsterdam’s Red Light District clean-up, which has already costed the city more than €100 million.