At close range, how pretty is the SuperCity?



This week’s Auckland City Council newsletter City Scene makes much about how the council “is continuing to strengthen its zero-tolerance approach to graffiti vandalism thanks to a number of initiatives planned in the area of eradication, education and enforcement.”

It claims “graffiti has been removed from over 39,000 sites” since July 2008.

That’s a good start. Not much of that can be from the areas on the side of the rail tracks - something that in the mess of ownership of the trains is probably because authorities can’t make up their mind whether it’s OnTrack or someone else’s responsibility. That fragmentation of responsibility which means nothing gets done because no-one is accountable is why we’re getting the one council SuperCity.

In the debate about the SuperCity,  few people are talking about how tacky Auckland is looking and whether it really measures up to world supercity status.

Besides the infrastructure issues, the city looks awful.

vandal1Take a trip on Auckland trains and you’ll be shocked to see, in a journey viewed from people’s backyards, how the landscape is so heavily vandalised. Graffiti is just everywhere you look.

There are some good examples of street art along the tracks and that’s one way to brighten up buildings that would otherwise be defaced by mindless graffiti.


NY-style track street art plus random tags

More street art and less vandalism may help but there’s many miles of track where the mass defacing of property has  created a very ugly shabby poor-world-looking environment.

Cleaning up the mess is not enough. The vandals come back the next night and make even more of a mess. Why not put CCTV cameras in the worst spots and name and shame and catch them.

Related Posts

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  3. Proof Bob is right: How much Auckland’s gone to the dogs
  4. New Lynn underground rail trench an enormous job
  5. Major works unfinished? No, it’s time to sort out this mess




  1. Paradox says:

    Trouble is, you can’t have one without t’other. Street art is nothing more and nothing less than organised tagging. Tagging, graffitti … it’s ALL street art. And like all art, there are wonderful examples and garbage. The beauty of it is that all of it, good and bad, took someone who felt strongly enough about something to go out and break a law to express it.

    Sure, you can provide sanctuaries … “insert graffiti here” spaces. But no-one will care much, because the point of the art form is to get the best and biggest work in the most visible places, and nobody will visit an isolated graffiti exhibition. So the sanctuary has to be EVERYWHERE. If the art was more tolerated, there’d be fewer kids out at 4 am dodging the cops, and smarter ways of allowing for the fact that people will spontaneously decorate public spaces.

    That said, there is one sure fire graffiti deterrent. Plants. You can’t paint them, they’re hard to walk through and - usually - even the most solvent-addled tagger has better things to do than rip ‘em out.

  2. Sydney says:

    I myself have written numerous letters to all parties concerned and there doesn’t seem to be much interest. I have to agree with the previous comment, plants (especially thorny ones) will alleviate the problem and the removal of walls will also help (where applicable of course). Hard durable fencing is way better than the tacky timber walls that you find all across Auckland.

    Greenery is my number 1 option, just do it Auckland ! Thanks for a great blog, mine should be up and running soon.

  3. Nikki says:

    I think if you gave these people like several places they can go to do there own thing, then there wouldnt be such a big problem, make a canvas, a massive canvas that stretches long like in 10 different places, that people can go to, to graffiti and hit up on because i think it would lessen the problem at least just a little bit, but it helps, and then people will have somewhere to tagg and do whatever they want. It is a form of art, why do you guys hate art may i ask??? Tagging is not crime, it is art. Thank you. Bye.


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