Admittedly, I am not a fan of billboards. A few years back a friend from Scenic America pointed out that billboards are the only form of advertising that the target audience cannot turn off, turn the channel, turn the page or log off. Opposition in many communities towards billboards is growing. A documentary has been made highlighting this trend – it’s worth a look.
Trailer from This space available on Vimeo.
While the growing cases of billboard bashing may at first appear singular and unique, I think there is more to it. I see it as representative of a larger trend of local stakeholders, residents and investors valuing their own community in a different way. As more state and local leaders realize that the days of smokestack chasing as an economic development strategy are over, the more they are looking inward at the quality of their communities. They are recognizing that amenities such as housing, parks, transportation options and yes, even view sheds are the primary criteria upon which their communities are being evaluated.
The rise in smaller firms and entrepreneurial start-ups as a key economic driver makes this trend even more important. Those mega industrial opportunities that primarily sought large tracts of land or sites supported by rail and highways are becoming the exception rather than the rule. Attention today is focused on a greater degree on infill opportunities, urban sites and mixed use development.
So, look around your own community and ask – how do we look? Are we doing the best we can do to attract modern investment. Or do we need to take on or support different approaches to drive modern economic development. You may end up choosing not to advertise your community on that large billboard blocking the view of your mountain range.