Post by Nick Chu
Elevated transport infrastructure, if improperly designed and implemented, has the potential to create huge visual obstructions in a neighbourhood.
And this fact was quite apparent while I was vacationing this last winter in Guangzhou, China. After visiting family and friends, I noticed that a lot of elevated highways and tracks were built with little regard to design.
However, in these scenarios, we’ve often argued that ugly is an opportunity to be beautiful. And nowhere is this taken more to heart than at a small elementary school down the street.
While I don’t have the full story behind the school’s colourful overhead painting, I think this is an interesting case of what can happen organically with human ingenuity. In this particular instance, instead of viewing the elevated thoroughfare as a problem, the school turned it into an opportunity for its students to personalize their play space.
Another advantage of this road was the fact that it provided students with shelter from the elements. This was quite evident when I walked by as kids were joyfully playing outside during a heavy rainstorm.
Of course in the end even with the mural, one can argue that the overhead road is still unsightly. And if given a choice, my guess is that the school would rather not have a road above their heads.
However, how the school chose to react, and reclaim this space with artwork is a reminder of how resourceful and creative individuals can become when faced with a little adversity.
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