Creative space makers Wildstone have designed a billboard promoting more than just consumerism. Located on Palace Road in Lambeth, the advertising structure has turned an unused plot of land into a mini vegetable patch for local residents and community groups.
A collaborative approach, the scheme has been devised and implemented by local charities, Wildstone and Lambeth Council. The large advertising board is encompassed by a sustainable oak modular structure containing large planters. These planters create a system capable of growing seasonal plants, shrubs and vegetables and are being maintained by two local charities: The Oasis Community Farm and Eat Work Art.
Aside from improving area aesthetics, the scheme has been praised for its positive social impact. Neil Haggertay, Crime Reduction Officer at Lambeth Council says: “I supported the re-development of the site from the beginning as it was a key site for anti-social behaviour and crime. The new look gardens and signage has improved the area and eliminated the vast majority of the issues previously faced. It is without doubt a major success story.”
Looking at the bigger picture — this whole scheme has been funded by advertising revenues. How great would it be if advertising boards worldwide could be used to greenify our cities? Clever urban design; financially supported by advertising companies could promote healthier, happier places.
Between 2010 and 2018, core government funding for Lambeth is being cut by 56%. This is, and will no doubt, continue to reduce the councils abilities to provide essential services; including funding for community groups and street maintenance. Is corporate investment of the public realm a viable way of promoting urban happiness? In times of austerity, there is real debate to be had surrounding the role of corporate entities in branding the urban environment.