WHAT IS THE BEST SPOT FOR A HOARDING? LET CITIZENS DECIDE!
Pune, 13th September, 2023:- In the bustling streets of India, hoardings have become an intrinsic part of the urban landscape, conveying messages, promoting products, and shaping the consumerist culture. These tall structures play a significant role in advertising, but they have come under fire for obstructing views, causing safety concerns and distractions, and impacting the aesthetic appeal of cities.
To address this issue, it is imperative to consider the opinions and preferences of the citizens who directly experience the visual barrage of these hoardings daily. Public consultation is not just a box to tick; it is a powerful tool to foster transparency, sustainability, and a sense of ownership among citizens.
Imagine a cityscape shaped solely by corporate interests and government officials without regard for the preferences and concerns of the people who live there. Hoardings placed haphazardly without public input can obstruct views, create visual pollution, and even pose safety hazards. Public consultation offers a vital counterbalance to this top-down approach, empowering citizens to actively participate in shaping their environment.
Engaging the public in hoarding placement helps identify safety hazards like obstruction of traffic signs and driver distractions. By consulting residents, authorities can identify areas where hoardings might enhance the overall appeal and where they could detract from the city's charm. Eventually, this would encourage responsible advertising practices that minimise negative impacts on the city.
It is important to understand that hoardings are not just ads; they are a part of the cultural and visual identity of a place. Placed insensitively, hoardings can trigger controversies. Involving citizens in decision-making would provide insight into diverse perspectives, ideas, and preferences. Moreover, it would be easier to identify potential pitfalls and navigate sensitive issues, reducing the likelihood of negative public reactions.
Implementing a successful public consultation process concerning hoardings is not without its challenges. Encouraging citizens to actively participate in the decision-making process is tough. Utilising social media campaigns, interactive surveys, and public events can generate interest.
"Advertisers who demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility and community welfare through their consultation efforts create a positive brand image. This can strengthen their reputation and brand loyalty among consumers. Hoardings that align with the values and aspirations of the local community are more likely to be noticed and remembered."
Sameer Desai, Founder & Managing Director
Conducting public consultations also requires time, effort, and financial resources. However, long-term benefits in terms of improved city planning and public satisfaction outweigh these initial costs. Then there is the challenge presented by diverse perspectives. The fact that different communities will have distinct perspectives is a given. A comprehensive approach that respects these diversities is essential. It would then make sense to form public forums before installing hoardings. Citizens can express their opinions, concerns, and suggestions at these forums, which can be conducted virtually too. Surveys through social media and online polls can serve as valuable tools to engage citizens.
Hoardings, when thoughtfully placed and designed, can add vibrancy and character to our urban spaces. However, their indiscriminate installation can lead to visual clutter, public discontent, and, worst of all, accidents. Public consultation on hoarding placement and removal marks a transformative step towards citizen empowerment and responsible urban development. By putting the public at the heart of these decisions, authorities can create a win-win situation for all stakeholders. When strategically positioned, hoardings have the potential to enhance a city's liveliness and allure while maintaining safety, preserving cultural values, and protecting the environment.