by Brian Clarey
Over the years, our cities have gotten away from us. What were once monuments to our culture and industriousness went fallow for a time and now are in need of being reclaimed.
That’s the whole point behind tactical urbanism, a movement that encourages pop-up parks, restaurants and retail, “chair-bombing” and other techniques that aim to give the cities back to the people.
One tactic, “weed-bombing,” is more about converting a negative aspect of modern city life into a positive one.
It’s not as much fun as it sounds, but it’s still pretty fun.
It all started in Miami, when a neighborhood activist grew tired of cutting down weeds on neglected city property near his home. So he started tagging them.
Armed with cans of spray paint, a great sense of color and a the heady buzz of righteous indignation, Brad Knoefler started spray-painting the weeds in the Omni Parkwest neighborhood in bright colors, creating temporary works of art out of urban blight.
“[I]t’s much more beneficial to beautify [the weeds] and convert them into street art,” Knoefler says in the “Tactical Urbanism” handbook.
“Unlike traditional graffiti,” he adds, “weed-bombing doesn’t damage private or public property and has immediate benefits to our quality of life.”
I love it because it’s an elegant solution to urban blight, both highlighting the issue — in this case, the prevalence of weeds in public spaces — and turning it into eye-catching art that will eventually die because of all the toxins in the spray-paint. I’m gonna try this instead of Roundup on the weeds growing along the curb in my neighborhood and see if anyone notices.