We live in a world that is urbanizing at a speed unprecedented in history. With more than 50% of the world’s population living in cities, agglomerations are swelling.
By 2050, population densities in cities will increase considerably, representing a real threat to municipalities in their daily management of resources and their treatment.
As a result, cities are increasingly spreading out, suburbs are growing and green spaces are shrinking. City centres are becoming more remote and harder to reach, giving way to uninteresting dormitory districts or soulless new towns.
These neighborhoods, often neglected by public services, have a negative psychological impact on the inhabitants. Who is happy when his or her horizon is limited to walls made of cinder block, concrete or other such bricks? Who can hope for a better day in a concrete forest? Depressing, really.
Urban art, or how grey takes on color
Urban art, present in all the major – or smaller – cities of the world, is a formidable means of embellishing soulless facades and bringing color to these increasingly dehumanized neighborhoods. A growing number of artists are taking over third places, neighborhoods and certain abandoned areas to bombard the walls.
Thus, ruins of buildings are lit up in a new light in Sao Paulo or New York, and industrial wastelands are transformed into giant frescoes in Los Angeles, Berlin and Sao Paulo. Meanwhile, entire districts are painted as in London and Seoul.
Artists such as El Seed are taking over the most underrated areas, such as the Manchiet Nasser district of Cairo, where the Coptic community of Zaraeeb has been collecting the city’s garbage for decades and has developed the most efficient and cost-effective recycling system in the world.
And yet this place is perceived as dirty, it is marginalized and kept apart. El Seed has created a giant anamorphosis that has not only provided a vibrant tribute to the “people of the garbage”. Above all, he has drawn attention to their exceptional waste management system.
Does street art has a positive impact?
Yes, all of these actions work!
We are witnessing all around the world the revitalization of neighborhoods where the largest frescoes are grouped together. Urban art brings communities together, the inhabitants re-appropriate the places and it is not rare that a new dynamic surfaces within these districts, creator of value, culture and the sharing of spaces.
Does the beautification of cities contribute to the well-being of the inhabitants? It certainly does.