Overnight, and while the residents of Maadi were sleeping unaware, the first of the symptoms of the Helwan take over appeared so grotesquely all over Maadi’s urban landscape.
At all the districts’ entrances, which are considered the urban gateways of Maadi; suddenly and out of the blue, these humongous billboards sprung out, as if made overnight by some evil work of demons (or orcs!!!).
These billboards are intolerable and dangerous, aesthetically and functionally, for many reasons.
Aesthetic these horrid billboards ruin the rather elegant and harmonious urban landscape of maadi, a suburban district that enjoyed since it’s initial planning and establishment in 1904, a unique and quiet vicinity, and managed to retain this distinctive characteristic against the continuous urban expansion of the adjacent districts.
Furthermore, these hideous billboards spoil the gateways of Maadi and leave a lasting impression on the residents and visitors.
Now, functionally speaking, these billboards distract drivers approaching the busy entrances of Maadi and may cause traffic jams if not accidents. In addition, and more hazardously, I don’t think that these billboards are the safest structures, judging by it shape. I don’t claim to be a structural expert, but my limited structural knowledge, and my observation of the shady Egyptian means of construction, would make me worried driving under these billboards daily!
All the above have derived me to form a facebook group , which advocates for bringing these outrageous monstrosities down and the implementation of strict outdoor advertising regulations. And going further in calling on the banning of the construction of new billboards in all Cairo suburbs and regulating the use of the billboards that already exist in a way that would protect the visual environment of Cairo.
We request that the government would issue a more strict building code regulating billboards all over the capital and form a Legislative and Regulatory Center to control outdoor advertising.
Bans on billboards exist in various parts of the world—even America. Vermont, Maine, Hawaii and Alaska all prohibit them, as do some 1,500 towns.
In the UK, billboards are controlled as part of the planning system. To display such an advert is a criminal offence with a fine of up to £2500 per offence (per poster). In Europe, the Norwegian city of Bergen does the same and many others are imposing severe restrictions on billboards: the mayor of Moscow, for example, is about to introduce regulation to reduce their number and size.
We’ve raised this issue before in Zed mag’s October issue; But this is far more precarious, explicit and dangerous.
If you are concerned for Maadi, and Cairo raise awareness and raise your voice. We are preparing an email template to be sent to all relevant governmental offices and institutions and media outlets. We will email the media, talk about it in talk shows (radio and TV) and voice out our objection.
Join the facebook group and invite your friends to stop the blight of billboards that is plaguing our city.