In many jurisdictions around the world, graffiti and unsanctioned postering
have been identified as a costly urban social problem. While
many solutions have been proposed, most of them treat graffiti
as vandalism and postering as a form of unsightliness or litter.
Both graffiti and postering are assumed to signify urban decay
and increased incidence of crime, and municipalities are often
willing to devote considerable resources to control these related
Besides the costs, these attempts to control unsanctioned
imagery in the public sphere usually have legal implications
related to municipal jurisdiction and freedom of expression
guarantees. Some argue that unsanctioned images have artistic
merit and provide insight into social and political issues worth
noting. This research addresses itself to the intersection of
legal, cultural, and social issues related to graffiti and postering,
especially in Canadian municipalities, and makes recommendations
towards managing what is seen as a widespread and costly problem.
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2005© Marshall Soules and Tricia Irish, Vancouver Island University