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In São Paulo they have the "clean city law"[1] which banned outdoor advertising in 2006. Pretty crazy, here's a flickr gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonydemarco/sets/7215760007550...

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cidade_Limpa

Is a company's name on their building really considered advertising? I mean, if I owned a nice building for my company, I'd take pride in having our name on the front.

What's the purpose of putting the company name on there. If it's to solely to allow people to find it then that's not advertising - if it's to say "look how awesome this building is and it's our companies" then that's advertising IMO.

> What's the purpose of putting the company name on there.

Well, for the owner's it's a sense of pride over all the hard work they've gone through to get to the point of being able to put their business name on the wall. Why do people buy flashy sports cars? To show off success.

I don't think having a name on a building like "SomeGuy's Sawmill" is really an advert, if anything, it's a brand.

Not to mention, say you're trying to find a location like the closest clothing store, or restaurant. How will you locate it (or the right one) if every building is just plain and looks exactly the same?

There's a difference between having a sign at street level for passers-by and having a neon sign that fills half your building though.

No-one is saying you can't have a nice sports car, nor that you can't be proud of it - here they're saying that you can't put spotlights on it and erect a hoarding saying "I'm awesome, look this is my car", just park it on the street like everyone else.

How will you locate a building. Numbers, street names - map or GPS : those are the usual way.

> How will you locate a building. Numbers, street names - map or GPS : those are the usual way.

That would only work if you knew ahead of time you were specifically looking for that particular location. There's been plenty of times I've driven by some place and decided to go take a peek inside just based on their name alone.

I'm a bit confused about your claim, then, because that sounds exactly like advertising.

"Al's Furniture Store" isn't advertising to me, it's the store name. I decided to go look inside based on what it was.

If 'Al' wasn't able to put his business name on the building (or advertise in any form), then he'd probably not make very many sales.

It surprises me where the conversation has gone -- this being HN and all, we're mostly startup/biz/tech people round these parts.

I intuitively understand what you're getting at, but I think it's difficult to draw a legal line between a name sign and advertising.

I guess plain signs reading "bakery", "clothes", "cars", "hipster coffee", etc. could be allowed if you try this.

You can put it up there I believe, but it has to be small and can't be flashing.

> Is a company's name on their building really considered advertising?


> I mean, if I owned a nice building for my company, I'd take pride in having our name on the front.

I'm not sure why the fact that the advertiser would make it any less advertising.

This is crazy, these pictures look like they're from a dystopian future. Can you imagine if this happened in the U.S.?

Some might say it looks like a utopian future :)

Exactly. I live in a place with a bit less ad clutter than usual, so it's the US cities that look dystopian to me :).

Point well taken! It would be nice to live in that city I must admit :)

It would be amazing, especially if they also tore down all the billboards instead of leaving them up and blank.

I don't think it’s so bad leaving the blank advertising stands. They act as a reminder for how things used to be. Humans are remarkably adaptable and it’s very easy for us to forget changes in our environment. As an example, my local city council banned HGVs (heavy goods vehicles) from the city centre about 10 years ago and it made a huge difference to quality of life for other road users (particularly pedestrians and cyclists) with regard to noise levels and air quality. However, within a few weeks, most of us just took the change for granted and forgot how bad things used to be. Every so often, I make a conscious effort to remind myself of positive changes that have happened as it’s far too easy to focus only on the negative aspects of one’s current situation. The empty advertising stands serve as visual cues for such appreciation. I’d also add that the bare structures have a certain symbolic value.

HGV meaning semi-trucks and other CDL class vehicles? Just want to be clear. I wish my city did that, or at least banned the multitrailer trucks where they have 1-2 more trailers attached.

I had to look up those terms. We use different terminology in Ireland but it looks like we're talking about the same class of vehicles (also generally referred to as articulated lorries [1])

The ban[2] specifically refers to trucks with 5 axles or more and proscribes them from entering the city centre between 7am and 7pm. Previously, there was a large amount of trucks driving through main thoroughfares to access Dublin Port but before introducing the ban, the local authorities finished constructing a tunnel and motorway to bypass the city so the truck drivers have viable alternative routes.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_goods_vehicle

[2] http://www.dublincity.ie/hgv

One can dream...

In addition to the already mentioned Hawaii, there are already other limitations on billboards in the US:


Correct. I grew up in Vermont. No billboards allowed and the State will come after you if you try to get funny about it and test the limits.

I can remember this technology being used on rap videos from the early to mid 1990s.

Yeah, US drivers wouldn't get distracted by flashing billboards.

Most forms of outdoor advertising are banned in Hawai‘i.

Seeing a city like that was so refreshing, it must be nice to live somewhere your attention isn't constantly pulled here and there, and where a sense of want is re-enforced every time you lift your head.

New Zealand has a similar law - you can't advertise on a building unless you own it and use it.. i.e. Coke can put a coke sign on their own building, but nowhere else.

It's beautiful.

I'm confused about this. NZ has billboards. I'm not sure exactly what you're comparing with. Do companies elsewhere just "tag" their names indiscriminately? I haven't noticed any differences between the UK and NZ in this regard.

This also made the city incredibly hard for me to navigate about a decade ago (no smart phone).

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