Public Art Humanises the Built Environment

Urban Art for a DairyThere is no doubt that there is a distinct movement in urban and built up areas on re-invigorating public areas. Public art can be used to brighten up bland areas – alleyways, lamp posts, pavements, walls, shopping precinctsΒ and even stairs. Public art can often signify special places of interest, relate to heritage aspects or link to historical aspects of an area. The scope is endless.

Towns & cities can gain so much value through public art – whether it be cultural, social, or for economic value. It adds meaning to an area and engages communities. Public art humanizes the built environment and invigorates public spaces & the best part is, public art is freely accessible.

There is an intrinsic value that everyone gains from a place – we notice architecture and design every day, so it’s not surprising that the argument for more public works is that it in fact drives economic revitalisation in urban areas. But its more than that – art is intrumental in educating, creating jobs, increasing the value of real estate, building communities, increasing tourism and other economic and social benefits.

As development booms, councils are focussing on inspiring people to visit, work and live , creating a particular community identity. Art in whatever form is uniquely accessible and enables people to experience art in the course of daily life, outside of museums or other cultural institutions. Size does not matter. Public art can be very visible, large & permanent, but it can also be very subtle & short lived when incorporating into a city event or program.

The Zest team have seen first-hand how these types of works can also make an area safe & welcoming. We’ve witnessed change in behaviour – when we added cut-out characters to rear laneway of the Gaffney Shopping Strip in Melbourne, the feedback from Moreland Council was that people felt more at ease walking in this area. The Bourke Street Stair project with Heart Foundation and City of Melbourrne showed a 20% increase in usage of the stairs over the escalators by travellers during peak hour – which was exactly the message we wanted to portray!

Zest works with councils, urban planners and architects to invigorate urban spaces. Contact us to discuss ideas and plan your next project.