NEWS

Capital’s face again marred by billboards

Athens looked like a different city a year and a half ago. That’s when the city hired workers to remove hundreds of giant billboards and outdoor advertisements affixed to balconies, walls and windows and hanging over streets so the capital could look good for the Olympics. Now, outdoor advertising is back in force – with the help of the City of Athens and other municipalities and greased by a new legal framework authorized by the ministries of the Interior and Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works. Gone are the strict rules controlling the rampant and unchecked placement of outdoor advertisements and billboards. Today, the streets of Athens and surrounding municipalities have some 15,000 spots for outdoor advertising. Each one of these spaces is rented for tens of thousands of euros, and the profits are immense. In London, a much larger city, there are somewhere between 100 and 200 outdoor advertisements or billboards. In most European capitals, billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising are virtually forbidden.