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Towering urban ads get the ax
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-20 23:43

Shanghai will forbid installation of advertisements upon newly built skyscrapers and remove "unsightly" outdoor ads in an effort to refine Shanghai's image, according to local authorities.

Starting this month, newly completed buildings of above 60 metres in the city's 600-square-kilometre downtown areas will not be allowed to put ads atop their roofs, said Zheng Jinwen, an official of the Shanghai City Appearance and Environmental Sanitation Administration Bureau.

"The new regulations have been approved and have taken effect," Zheng told China Daily Tuesday.

Under the new policy, billboard pillars above 20 metres along the city's elevated expressway will be dismantled later this year,said Zheng, who works for the bureau's advertisement administration department. Currently, there are several dozen such pillars.

In addition, the bureau will join efforts with other local government departments and the city's advertisement industry association to carry out "a thorough inspection" of all existing commercial ads on 102 local high-rises within the city, said Zheng.

"In a simple few words, all those ads that contradict the local surroundings will be removed," said Zheng. "The deadline is the end of this December."

Local authorities will pay compensation to those advertisers whose ads will be removed by year's end, according to Zheng.

Usually,advertisers' contract periods are one year, said Zheng.

As the country's largest commercial city, Shanghai has witnessed its outdoor advertising market growing 20 to 30 per cent annually since 1997, compared with around 15 per cent growth in TV and paper media, according to local media reports.

Statistics from local advertising agencies showed that since the beginning of this year, outdoor ad prices have soared at least 10 per cent, with those in certain areas along the elevated expressways up around 50 per cent.

As the end of last year, Shanghai had established more than 20,000 commercial ad boards across the city, according to bureau statistics.

Part of those outdoor as have imposed "sight pollution" on the city's urban scenery, said Huang Yingjie, a construction design professor of Shanghai-based Tongji University.

"The colour, size, shape and the content of those ads need to be restricted by regulations so as to ensure a harmony between the ads and local surroundings," said Huang.

Fortunately, the local authority is already drafting a general plan for the development of the city's outdoor advertising market, with more strict requirements for the designs and locations of those ads, according to the bureau.

"The potential for local outdoor advertising is great, but we need to bring it right back on track," Guo Hua, director of the advertisement administration department of the bureau, told local media earlier.

In addition, these unqualified outdoor ads on high-rise buildings may also pose a potential threat to pedestrians in case of violent weather.

A storm that hit the city last month caused five ads structures to fall to the ground, according to the bureau officials.

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