Editorial: Public ad standards

October 25, 2013
By

Offering publicly owned real estate to private corporations for devices that often bear advertising or logos appears to be the way of Boston’s future. Particularly in Boston’s parks, it is time to review existing standards on the appearance of such ads and devices, and create new ones where needed.

City Council candidates at Franklin Park last week bemoaned the tiny budget for Boston parks and suggested more “public-private partnerships.” Also this month, a high-tech water fountain with a company’s brand name was installed at Jamaica Pond Park.

The fountain, or bubbler, is a welcome replacement for the trickling fountain that exists near the boat house. More such amenities should come to our parks and streets.

But we also must be wary of disturbing the natural landscape and of marking public space with symbols of private ownership.

Good advance planning makes for good partnerships. Proper standards, devised with large-scale public input, will ensure that the parks get the amenities they need while remaining the refuge from urban blare that we need.