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A lot of the new murals will cover bricked-up windows , Source: City of Ghent

Ghent uses graffitied murals to help residents build a tighter community

Ghent uses graffitied murals to help residents build a tighter community

The initiative wants to remind passers-by in the central part of the city that this is still a residential area

Last week, the City of Ghent in Belgium teamed up with graffiti artists to beautify the residential Ottergemsesteenweg street. This is quite a busy street and it passes through the student quarter in the city. The graffiti largely focus on scenes of domestic serenity, to remind passers-by that there are locals who would appreciate respectful behaviour on the street.

The city has commissioned twelve murals, that will go mainly on the boarded or bricked up windows of residential buildings. Over the years, people who live in the area have resorted to covering their windows facing the street as a way to keep the street clutter out of their homes.

The project is a continuation of a similar initiative from the end of 2020, that aimed at doing the same thing on Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat. That street is a continuation of Ottergemsesteenweg and this year’s edition of the project aims to ‘finish the job’.

Local authorities and graffiti artists – a natural combo that helps the urban environment

The city-sponsored murals are a great solution, especially because local authorities have decided to draw upon last year’s experience. For one, the murals discourage others from vandalising the walls and they also contribute to a unified aesthetic of the neighbourhood.

According to a press release from the city, covering the whole area could contribute to the neighbourhood building its character and community. Usually, central city areas suffer from a lack of communal feeling, as there are more outsiders than insiders, but the murals can help to build that unique team spirit.

To further the shared sense of community, authorities in Gent also plan to consult with the locals and launch a greening initiative. According to Mayor Mathias De Clercq, this package of measures would give the streets back to the residents.

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