Learning from São Paulo
Essay: TU Delft, 2010
This essay, written during my Master Studies at TU Delft
reflects on what the billboard ban in São Paulo could mean for
the debate of public space in a globalised world.
In January 2007 São Paulo (Brazil) is the first city worldwide
to ban advertising from the public sphere, calling the agenda
Cidade Limpa – Clean City. The law is pushed through by
right-wing democrat Gilberto Kassab, an economist, civil
engineer and São Paulo's mayor since 2006. By banning billboards
and other kind of advertisement from the public sphere the
advocates of Cidade Limpa aim to free the city from visual
pollution. This way they believe the real beauty of the city can
be revealed again.
By analysing, testing and questioning the statements of Robert
Venturi and Denise Scott Brown ("Learning from Las Vegas", 1977)
in regards to the happenings in São Paulo, the essay touches
upon the influence of market economy on public space and the
significance of signage in the digital era.
Photo by Filipe Werner