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The End of ‘Czech Manhattan’. Prague Wants to Fight Visual Smog

Prague City Hall is trying to fight the visual smog and has prepared new rules to restore the historic heart of the city. Because of the advertisement display, the city center is already avoided by professional photographers.

“Hundreds of photographers send us photos. But Karlova Street in the center, for example, is not very photographed,” says David Černý, writer and founder of the photographic project Miluju Prahu. “There’s one signboard next to another, it’s like Times Square. It’s all about the people who run it,” he added.

In December, the municipality has prepared rules for marking establishments that will help reduce visual smog.

“For example, we do not want the shop windows to be covered by 100 percent or blinking inscriptions. If a shop has an advertisement display behind the glass, it is no longer affected legislation, but the visual impression from the street is exactly the same. Prague 1 has already approved it, the other city districts will probably do the same,” said City Councilor Hana Třeštíková (Praha sobě).

“We do not want different advertisements and other visuals or objects that parasitize public spaces in Prague,” added the Mayor Zdeněk Hřib last September.

According to the new rules, the corporate sign on the shop window should not exceed 20% of the glass surface.

Along the Royal Route, Prague City owns only about one-fifth of the houses. The Town Hall has to negotiate with private owners. “We will ask them to respect the new rules and gradually eliminate the most reflective, fluorescent and garish elements,” says City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force for Prague).

“The goal is to have the unification of the visual element of all establishments,” Chabr added.

 

 

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