Most of the time when something in our cities doesn’t work or look as it should, I complain, blame the government and wait for it to change things for the better. (I guess, one cannot always hide his Austrian origin). But sometimes I actually do wonder why I (and most other people) react that way and how easily things could be changed.
Imagine the following: There could be the suspicion, that a fence in a neighbourhood might have had a slightly stronger touch of colour and wasn’t supposed to imitate the look of an art piece called “Dirty As Hell” THAT’s good. Now instead of whining, waiting for some bureaucrats to realize there is a problem and get the budget to send some public workers, some neighbours would just get together, grab some bucks of paint and maybe a few bottles of beer and juice and just overhaul the whole thing on a sunny afternoon.
I bet they would get problems with the authorities, if they did something like that in Austria. Both, laws and mentality in our country, might not be ready for such dangerous social activism. Meanwhile in London … Well, just look for yourself, what they achieved there in a once quite run-down community!
The initiative that kicked this whole thing off is called sustrans and already finished some other projects in Britain as well. Of course, those were somewhat more expensive than a buck of paint. Funding came from local authorities or housing associations. That is great, of course, but I don’t think communities have to invest that much time and money as in those cases. Small things often would make a nice difference too.
I’d like to ask you something: Do you know of any similar initiatives in YOUR neighbourhood? And if not, why do you think this is the case?