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  #21  
Old Posted May 19, 2019, 2:50 AM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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Not relating to any one city in particular...

As a 31 year old I'm now just starting to notice how stuff that was new when I was a kid isn't new anymore. I mean, its not exactly profound to say stuff is older now than it was in the past. But it's interesting to see it in person.

Like big box stores from the 1990s are now tired and weathered looking. Where the original chain store went out of business and it's now something else.
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  #22  
Old Posted May 19, 2019, 3:38 AM
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I wish downtown Phoenix was dirtier, to be honest. My impression is that "dirty" has never really been Phoenix's problem--it is generally very clean. The problem has been downtown being vacant, sun-baked and sterile. If the current resurgence of residential development continues, hopefully dirt and waste will be one of the issues we have to deal with as a byproduct of a busy, functioning downtown neighborhood.
South Phoenix still seems dirty, but most of Phoenix is very clean compared to just about anywhere else I've been.
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  #23  
Old Posted May 19, 2019, 3:49 AM
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Although Austin seems to be where people want to live, and it has a great reputation, we have a big problem with trash and graffiti, even along commercial streets bordered by neighborhoods with homes over $500K. The biggest problem, as has been noted, is under the freeway overpasses, or under the elevated sections of freeways. The homeless camps are overwhelmingly large and piled with trash. The highway department was supposed to do cleanups, but not much happened (which is not surprising for TxDOT). Just recently, the city agreed to start cleaning up the camps. We'll see...

It's hard to find an intersection in Austin that isn't trashed out by transients.

TxDOT rarely cleans up litter anywhere in Texas. In the rainier months, the weeds and flowers hide all the trash, and then when the grass is mowed, TxDOT mowers chop up the trash and it stays there. There used to be "adopt-a-highway" sections, and there are still a few, but that program has fizzled.

Our tollways typically are kept clean since there's a good revenue source, or at least there should be. Our Mopac tollway looks nice, and 130 usually does, too. I-35 can be a mess for months at a time.

On my last trip to Minneapolis, I saw a mowers chopping up trash on the freeway next to the airport. It was a mess. I've seen the same around Raleigh-Durham.

On my many trips to Florida, I've seen the cleanest highways of any place I've ever been. Maybe they budget for it. Texas' budget must be meager, though.

There's just something about American culture that doesn't put a high value on cleanliness. There are certainly countries that are much worse (especially the developing world). Even Italy seems worse to me, even though I love that country.
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  #24  
Old Posted May 19, 2019, 2:27 PM
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If you subtract the explosion of the homeless population and aggressive pan handlers, I would say almost every American city is "cleaner" than they were as recently as the 1990s early 2000s.

Fortunately high levels of graffiti have been reduced. It's not art, it's vandalism and before the invention of a spray paint can, our cities never had random scribbles of gibberish on display.
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  #25  
Old Posted May 20, 2019, 3:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Sun Belt View Post
If you subtract the explosion of the homeless population and aggressive pan handlers, I would say almost every American city is "cleaner" than they were as recently as the 1990s early 2000s.

Fortunately high levels of graffiti have been reduced. It's not art, it's vandalism and before the invention of a spray paint can, our cities never had random scribbles of gibberish on display.
Pfft. Graffiti can't be both art and vandalism? A lot of people miss that shit.
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  #26  
Old Posted May 20, 2019, 4:22 PM
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I'd say that Toronto has become dirtier, though it's not a particularly dirty city overall. Mostly a combination of increased population in the central city, small (but noticeable) cuts to general services and a significant influx of homeless in certain areas. The city has gotten better at the upkeep of some public spaces, but you'll see large piles of garbage in secluded areas such as under overpasses.

Compared to when I first visited 3 years ago, Johannesburg has gotten quite a bit cleaner, although it's a very dirty city overall. Service delivery in central areas has improved but it's not enough to keep up with high density, particularly in proximity to hijacked buildings. Areas near informal settlements are also quite bad, though the city is trying to expand waste collection in these areas (how effective this is I couldn't say). There's also been a push for community cleanups in parks and such, which started before the recent "trashtag" challenge. It's made a noticeable difference for parks in middle-class suburbs and stable parts of the inner city.

Another big issue is illegal dumping, particularly from construction projects and renovations. A lot of contractors find it cheaper to risk fines and just drive to an isolated area to dump waste. I've seen roads just outside the urban area that are lined with piles of construction waste - you can actually make them out on google maps pretty clearly: https://goo.gl/maps/QGQcmaiUjxHoC2s79

On the whole I find South African's have completely normalized public littering in a way that completely crosses class / racial lines. I see new garbage on the sidewalks and in the local park walking to the gym every morning and have seen people just throw stuff out the windows of very expensive vehicles. Hopefully that culture can be changed over time.
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  #27  
Old Posted May 20, 2019, 4:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niwell View Post
On the whole I find South African's have completely normalized public littering in a way that completely crosses class / racial lines. I see new garbage on the sidewalks and in the local park walking to the gym every morning and have seen people just throw stuff out the windows of very expensive vehicles. Hopefully that culture can be changed over time.
i don't know why, but seeing open littering feels near-personally insulting to me. at least in higher density urban areas, however, it eventually gets picked up somehow, abandoned sites excepted. in suburban areas it ends up in trees, ditches, open waterways, all of these large unused spaces in suburbs ...as an environmental consultant i see these kinds of areas up close - even somewhat wealthy suburbs - and they are disgusting beneath the greenery.
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  #28  
Old Posted May 20, 2019, 5:06 PM
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Originally Posted by uaarkson View Post
Pfft. Graffiti can't be both art and vandalism? A lot of people miss that shit.
Toronto has an enormous amount of graffiti, fortunately much of it falls more into the "art" category than the tagging vandalism variety -- although there is plenty of that to be found as well. Overall, I'm a fan of graffiti, I think it adds a lot to the urban atmosphere of the city.
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  #29  
Old Posted May 20, 2019, 8:55 PM
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Originally Posted by AviationGuy View Post
South Phoenix still seems dirty, but most of Phoenix is very clean compared to just about anywhere else I've been.
Yeah, like any city Phoenix has its poorer, less attractive areas. But even South Phoenix doesn't seem overly "dirty" to me--just sort of sad, desolate and unpleasant.

A lot of areas like this:

https://www.google.com/maps/@33.4341...7i16384!8i8192
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  #30  
Old Posted May 20, 2019, 9:03 PM
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I havent noticed any real difference in Pittsburgh since I moved here in 2013. Maybe a little bit cleaner. There are just as many homeless as there were in 2013 downtown and all the bus stops that switch downtown to the ghettos dont help matters with trash and idiotic behaviour. Certain neighborhoods are for sure cleaner though as they've gentrified; like Lawrenceville and the Southside.
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  #31  
Old Posted May 21, 2019, 1:32 AM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post
i don't know why, but seeing open littering feels near-personally insulting to me. at least in higher density urban areas, however, it eventually gets picked up somehow, abandoned sites excepted. in suburban areas it ends up in trees, ditches, open waterways, all of these large unused spaces in suburbs ...as an environmental consultant i see these kinds of areas up close - even somewhat wealthy suburbs - and they are disgusting beneath the greenery.
About a month ago I saw this lady that was parallel parked downtown and she nonchalantly opened her door, threw out like two mcdonald bags and then closed her door. I drove next to her(her window was down) and asked her politely to pick it up because I know the guys that clean up downtown and its not right they have to do extra work for her being lazy. Obviously, I got a fuck you look but she didn't say anything....
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  #32  
Old Posted May 21, 2019, 3:04 AM
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Originally Posted by softee View Post
Toronto has an enormous amount of graffiti, fortunately much of it falls more into the "art" category than the tagging vandalism variety -- although there is plenty of that to be found as well. Overall, I'm a fan of graffiti, I think it adds a lot to the urban atmosphere of the city.
Tagging is worthless. No one wants to see some lowlife vandal's ID scrawl, at least I hope not. It confers not gritty character but urban decay, poverty, and the dissipation of social mores. Spray-painted murals or other pieces of wall artwork are something else entirely, and I welcome them with open arms.
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  #33  
Old Posted May 21, 2019, 3:10 AM
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For years, I've seen trucks hauling garbage and construction debris with no tarps. The trash and debris end up on our freeways and highways. Some of it is extremely dangerous and has caused bad accidents. No one in the Texas legislature is concerned. The highway department shrugs their shoulders and says "we don't have an enforcement budget" if you call about it.


A few years ago, I made the trip along I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson. The rural part of the trip was the worst...garbage piled up in the median for about 100 miles. That was a while back, so hopefully things are better now along that route.
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  #34  
Old Posted May 21, 2019, 1:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gresto View Post
Tagging is worthless. No one wants to see some lowlife vandal's ID scrawl, at least I hope not. It confers not gritty character but urban decay, poverty, and the dissipation of social mores. Spray-painted murals or other pieces of wall artwork are something else entirely, and I welcome them with open arms.

While tagging is annoying, most of the artists who do the large murals actually started out tagging. There's also a huge difference between gang tags and others - I would be concerned if gang tags started showing up but the vast majority of what you see in central Toronto aren't that.
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  #35  
Old Posted May 21, 2019, 3:08 PM
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Our downtown organization knows what gang tagging can do to the reputation of an area, and they take care of it quick.

About two years ago someone or some group tagged our parking garage and tagged their symbol or whatever all over the sidewalks. That shit was cleaned up within a week.

They piss me off.
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  #36  
Old Posted May 21, 2019, 3:23 PM
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^ chicago has had a very aggressive anti-graffiti program for awhile now. it's wonderful.

if you notice any graffiti on your property, you just call the hotline and it's gone. and if the taggers hit it again, you just call the hotline again. they'll keep coming as long as you keep calling.

the resources of the city are profoundly larger than those of teenage idiots. if graffiti is removed immediately, then the hope is that the teenage idiots will be discouraged from wasting their limited money on the tools of their "craft" in the first place.
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  #37  
Old Posted May 21, 2019, 4:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresto View Post
Tagging is worthless. No one wants to see some lowlife vandal's ID scrawl, at least I hope not. It confers not gritty character but urban decay, poverty, and the dissipation of social mores.

I do. I appreciate the calligraphy; the democratic occupation of public space; as well as the multi-layered, organic visual effect. Plus it just livens up typically derelict and blank urban spaces.

Sure beats a blank wall, in my opinion:

Kensington by Eric H, on Flickr



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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
I'd say that Toronto has become dirtier, though it's not a particularly dirty city overall. Mostly a combination of increased population in the central city, small (but noticeable) cuts to general services and a significant influx of homeless in certain areas. The city has gotten better at the upkeep of some public spaces, but you'll see large piles of garbage in secluded areas such as under overpasses.

I think the mid/late-00s were really "peak dirtiness" in Toronto. You had the same post-amalgamation public realm neglect and aging infrastructure as today; but gentrification & redevelopment hadn't yet come full swing so there were also still plenty of vacant, derelict, and rundown buildings that hadn't yet been restored or turned into condos. More graffiti too - given that property owners had less propensity to clean their buildings.

If I had to pick a specific point in time, the garbage strike over the summer of 2009 would definitely be it.
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  #38  
Old Posted May 21, 2019, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
While tagging is annoying, most of the artists who do the large murals actually started out tagging. There's also a huge difference between gang tags and others - I would be concerned if gang tags started showing up but the vast majority of what you see in central Toronto aren't that.
I'm sure many of the legit graffiti artists started out as taggers. I would not distinguish at all, aesthetically, between gang tags and an individual's imprimatur. I find both equally unsightly and obnoxiously antisocial, though you're right that gang tags are certainly more worrying in terms of public safety.
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I do. I appreciate the calligraphy; the democratic occupation of public space; as well as the multi-layered, organic visual effect. Plus it just livens up typically derelict and blank urban spaces.
The picture you posted (which took me a long time to realize was taken in Toronto; I haven't been to Kensington in ages) benefits somewhat from the fact that the surrounding area appears otherwise completely free of litter and other indicators of urban dereliction, but I'd still prefer the blank wall. Observe how nice the colourful swirls are, and how that art piece is thoughtlessly ruined by the overlaid white tagging. Also missing is respect for property owners. A business - even its exterior walls - is not public space, and believe me, I'm not typically in any way a champion of commercial or business interests over those of citizens. I just like cleanliness and order. Garbage and other signs of socioeconomic putrefaction (tagging, weeds, homelessness, abandoned buildings, etc.) are major pet peeves of mine. I appreciate that some see them as signs of busyness and urban vibrancy, but I believe one can have vitality and vibrancy without rubbish-strewn streets and ugly wall scribbles. It just takes (a small percentage of) people learning how to behave themselves like considerate members of society.
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  #39  
Old Posted May 21, 2019, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
While tagging is annoying, most of the artists who do the large murals actually started out tagging. There's also a huge difference between gang tags and others - I would be concerned if gang tags started showing up but the vast majority of what you see in central Toronto aren't that.
A business owner paying somebody to create a mural is quite different than some guy [usually a child] deciding to write some illegible random word bubble letters on the side of a block wall, building, roadway sign, alley way, business, palm tree trunk etc.

I'd rather not see free public "art" of an octopus coming out of a space ship or something along the lines.
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  #40  
Old Posted May 22, 2019, 12:36 AM
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Hot desert cities (e.g. Phoenix), and maybe really cold winter cities (e.g. Minny-St P, Winnipeg) often seem cleaner. Maybe too hot/cold for rodents & bugs, and not as many homeless? Hot humid cities (especially those with mild weather) often seem more dirty and germy, although there are exceptions of course. I was in Houston once, and saw a roach that must have been two inches long skittering along the sidewalk near my hotel. Singapore is hot & humid but is said to be clean. A couple of decades ago I was in Fairbanks AK in winter, and there appeared to be no bugs at all (20 below zero). However I was told in early summer they do have lots of flies and mosquitos for a few weeks.
Except for the urine stench in hot cities like LA without any rain to wash it away.
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