June 23rd, 2003
Town Square As Billboard; Short on Cash, Municipalities are Renting out Public Spaces to Marketers
By Stuart Elliott
The New York Times
This property for rent. That’s what an increasing number of strapped municipalities are proclaiming to Madison Avenue as they make available for advertising, marketing and promotional purposes an expanding range of public places—whether zoos, parks and train stations, or museums, piers and beaches.
“We call it the city-for-sale phenomenon,” said Gary Ruskin, the executive director at Commercial Alert in Portland, Ore., an organization dedicated to fighting what he terms ad creep. “Every one of these is a victory of crass commercialism over local values.”