Few things can spoil the urban landscape like an improperly placed advertisements. This is especially valid for a historical city like Prague, whose beauty has few rivals in Europe.
Prague has long been fighting against the visual smog, coming from many of the central commercial establishments.
Luckily, this situation may soon become a thing of the past, as the local authorities are making coordinated steps towards eliminating visual clutter. Their latest initiative is the termination of 38 contracts with various companies for the placement of advertising banners.
Based on today’s decision, dozens of advertising spaces should disappear from various parts of Prague. According to the approved document, the current tenants have a notice period of three months.
As the authorities explain, advertising legislation is currently very fragmented, and it is, therefore, difficult to determine with which regulations commercial establishments need to comply. This allows for many ads to be placed without proper permission and often end up in violation of regulations.
Recently, Prague City published a manual meant to guide entrepreneurs and instruct them on how to obtain all the necessary permits. The illustrated document is available to download for everyone who needs it (in Czech).
Hana Třeštíková, Councillor for Culture, Monument Care, Exhibitions and Tourism, said that particular concerns which have driven the publication include “garish advertising” such as neon lights, shop signs, window foils and banners, which are being frequently used in the city centre and tourist hotspots, “without any respect for the historical and cultural value of our buildings or monuments”.
The city is also preparing a grant program to motivate entrepreneurs to follow the rules. They could get money, for example, to repair their facade, if they get rid of visual smog.