Poznań reveals its latest weapon in fight against illegal billboards
As Poznań authorities prepare a new landscape resolution aimed at reorganizing the use of public space, the city has unveiled its latest weapon to fight the spread of illegal billboards.
Making its debut last week, the Department of Town Planning & Architecture have unveiled a customized car embellished with hi-tech gadgets in a bid to audit outdoor ads and identify those that break the law.
Embellished with roof-mounted scanners, sensors and cameras, the vehicle was tasked with checking ads that had been placed around Roosvelta and Grunwaldzka streets so as to gather information ahead of the resolution’s proposed implementation.
Tobiasz Wichnowski, the deputy director of the Department of Town Planning and Architecture at the Municipal Office of the City, said: “it is quite a challenge [to collate information]… but obtaining this will allow for the city to assess the technical and financial possibilities when it comes to deciding what to do with the billboards throughout the city.”
Referring to the technological capabilities of the readapted car, Wichnowski added: “With the help of algorithms, it is possible to develop a point cloud, i.e. one of the methods of spatial scanning, so that the provisions of the resolution are automatically translated into the scan that we receive.”
With parameters already pre-programed, this in turn allows for the digitized sifting of gathered data – in layman’s terms, if an ad is judged too large, then it will be instantly flagged by the system.
Costing the city PLN 12,000 to execute, the drive was conducted as a pilot outing the results of which will only be known in the coming days.
Already, however, it has won praise from social activists such as Tomasz Hejna. Hejna, a local councillor who has committed much of his free time documenting the outbreak of illegal ads on his Facebook page, Gemela Poznańska, said: “Better late than never, there has been no such inventory of outdoor advertising for 30-years.
“I believe this could have been done much earlier and at a far lower cost though, for example with the help of housing estate bodies that could have guarded their estates against such excessive visual devastation.”
Regardless, the latest project could finally correct the untrammelled abuse of outdoor space with this first step seen as vital in its progress.
With the city carved into four segments, the landscape resolution aims to limit the largest ads to a size of 18 sq/m and these will only be allowed in urbanized areas, by main roads, or on the edges of the centre and historic districts.
Anything bigger, though, faces an outright ban unless positioned on scaffolding during an ongoing renovation.
Left largely unchecked in the years since Poland’s political transformation, outdoor ads have become a blight across the nation.
But whilst they were for years left largely ignored, recent times have seen a public backlash against their continued encroachment on public space.