A Billboard That Finally Has a Reason to Exist: Free Water

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In Lima, Peru, there is a new billboard that is selling an idea by providing free water to the local population. Water access is an issue in the area for a variety of reasons which impacts poverty and other water-related issues in the area. A local engineering school wanted to show potential new students what impact they can have on their country and chose to make a billboard a functional piece of infrastructure with simple engineering.

Usually when billboards are mentioned on this site it’s because they are being banned or taxed more to fund city beautification projects. It’s nice to be able to show a billboard that does something out of the ordinary to improve people’s lives.

“We wanted future students to see how engineers can also solve social needs in daily basis kinds of situations,” said Alejandro Aponte, creative director at Mayo DraftFCB.

The city’s residents could certainly use the help. According to a 2011 The Independent piece ominously titled “The desert city in serious danger of running dry,” about 1.2 million residents of Lima lack running water entirely, depending on unregulated private-company water trucks to deliver the goods — companies that charge up to 30 soles (US $10) per cubic meter of H2O, or as The Independent notes, 20 times what more well-off residents pay for their tapwater.

Read more here.

Thanks to Kathryn!

Toronto Uses Billboard Tax to Fund Arts

many years ago, local Toronto artist and activist Devon Ostrom started Beautiful City to get more funding for the arts in Toronto and since then the project has grown to be quite large. This week they saw their dream realized and now Toronto is using a new tax on billboards (which are a visual blight) to fund more outdoor arts in the city.

Under Crawford’s plan, another $17 million would be phased in gradually over the next four years until Toronto reaches its oft-stated goal of increasing its per capita spending on the arts from $18.30 to $25.

All this represents a dream come true for a spirited and resourceful group of young artists who have kept up the pressure for years for a billboard tax that could be used to solve woeful underfunding from the cash-strapped city, which had fallen behind other major cities in its investment in the arts.

Read more at The Star.

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