Graffiti, street art and murals

Street Art in Hackney

Street Art in Hackney

In Australia, ‘Melbourne’s street art puts it in on the tourist map (alongside Berlin, New York, London, Los Angeles and SaoPaulo) enabling it to compete with Sydney and the famous harbour and Opera House’. So Melbourne has an enlightened policy on street art and the city council hosts a gallery of street art.
In London, Graffiti, street art and murals are subject to borough control, not GLA control. Greenwich, my local council, suffers from the blinkers you would expect from 43 years of political control by the same party. So the policy is about ‘grafitti’ instead of ‘street art’. Here it is:
Graffiti removal
We aim to keep all council property free of graffiti, but we need your help. If you report a graffiti problem to us, we will deal with it.
How to report graffiti
You can report by mail, phone, email or online form using the details on the right.
If you can, please provide details about those responsible for the graffiti. We will try to make them, or their parents or guardians if applicable, to pay for the graffiti removal.
What happens next
Our cleaning team will inspect and remove offensive and racist graffiti within 24 hours. Other graffiti on the outsides of Council property will be removed within three working days.
Graffiti on private property
The team will also remove graffiti on private property, although there may be a charge for non-offensive graffiti.
We require signed permission from the owner before we remove any graffiti from private property.
Anti-social behaviour
In some cases – for instance, when it seriously affects you or causes great inconvenience – graffiti can be considered a type of anti-social behaviour.

Hackney was long considered the worst-run borough in London but has had more diverse political control in recent years and has undergone rapid trendification. Anyway, the above illustration is from Hackney and the policy is on Graffiti, street art and murals. One could regard it as enlightened, at least in comparison to Greenwich eg ‘We recognise that some people consider that street art makes a positive contribution to the urban environment. If your property has a piece of street art or mural on it, you must contact our Environmental Enforcement team to let us know that you would like to keep it.’ BUT the Hackney Hedgehog is on a building marked ‘to let’ so it was probably done without the owner’s permission. Does this make it graffiti and an act of vandalism attributable to migrants from Eastern Europe? The poor beastie looks a bit underfed. Or is it political activism by deep ecologists who want more more planning for nature in urban areas?

Image courtesy gruntzooki!

2 thoughts on “Graffiti, street art and murals

  1. Christine

    What is the hedgehogs status with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society? Perhaps there are some synergies there? I am wondering whether the agents who are leasing the property could be convinced to contact the owner and perhaps either donate the wall to the BHPS or allow the BHPS to sponsor the wall for a nominal fee?

  2. Willem Krusen

    Street art does make a positive contribution to the urban environment. Carrying social messages through murals is the best way of educating the public. However, politicizing murals or commercializing is unethical as it resorts to appealing to only one section of the society for some ulterior motives.


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