Aug 07, 2023

Prague Takes Down 119 Billboards in Effort to Reduce “Visual Smog”

Prague has announced plans to take down 119 billboards from its streets, aiming to improve the pedestrian environment and minimize visual pollution.

These advertisements, currently displaying temporary posters in shades of black, white, and gray, are expected to disappear by the end of August and early September, according to statements by city councillor Adam Zábranský (Pirates).

The city will acquire the advertising space from JCDecaux (JCD), the previous operator and owner of these signs. Zábranský has shared a list detailing the specific locations where the billboards will be removed on his Facebook page.

As part of its transition away from JCD, the city is gradually replacing its bus shelters with custom-designed ones to establish a unique cityscape.

Zábranský emphasized, “Our future plans do not include standalone billboards. Such structures often create unnecessary obstacles for pedestrians and cyclists, contributing to what we call visual pollution.”

By acquiring ownership of these installations, the city aims to expedite their removal process, contrasting with the slower process if they remained under the advertising company’s jurisdiction.

“I am confident that advertising spaces in the central areas, where they seem out of place, will gradually disappear. However, certain areas for city communication may be retained, as long as they don’t create unwarranted visual or physical barriers.”

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Under a contract dating back to 1994, JCDecaux had significant control over bus stops in the city, offering payments to the municipality for their maintenance and ownership while utilizing them for advertising.

Following the contract’s expiration, the city chose not to renew it.

The previous administration initiated a phased replacement strategy, beginning in late 2021, resulting in the city eventually assuming ownership of multiple shelters and amenities. Currently, approximately 550 of these new shelters adorn various locations throughout the city.

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