14 Jan 2014

Taggers, graffiti and incentives

A few months ago, we did a neighborhood clean up a few km away from our place. I was eager and excited to get all the garbage under the freeway overpass, but also a little depressed that people so casually dumped their crap into common areas ("the tragedy of the assholes").


I was surprised to see so many empty spray cans (we picked up 40+) lying around, and that got me to thinking about potential ways to keep them out of the environment and in garbage cans:
  1. Put a deposit on cans of spray paint. New cans will come back; old cans will be found.*
  2. Shame "artists" and taggers by associating their work with litter instead of glamor (we mean you, Pinup!)
  3. from Vancouver
  4. Give taggers "territory" that they can paint and repaint without interference, as long as they keep it clean
from Medellin, Colombia
Bottom Line: Street artists want to fit in even as they stand out. Change their incentives if you want to change their actions.**

* I emailed the city of Vancouver with suggestion (1). They said "leave a message with engineering; it's not our jurisdiction," which was pretty unhelpful (a caring insider would FIND the person to handle it).

** Incentives to stop tagging, etc. (jail, fines) won't work because the POINT is to break rules and tag.