European city administrators, public transport services, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders spend enormous amounts of money attempting to tackle graffiti vandalism. Effective and more holistic approaches to fighting illegal graffiti are needed, including a community resource to help understand vandalism problems whilst at the same time sharing and innovating new protocols and responses. Graffolution seeks to decreases graffiti vandalism in public areas and transportation networks by focusing on smart awareness and positive prevention solutions for all affected stakeholder groups, including those who manage graffiti, as well as those who have utilised street art as part of city regeneration, place making or community involvement strategies.

Graffiti vandalism remains a serious safety issue in settings such as transport environments. However, it is also linked to changing European contexts and demands a holistic approach beyond the “Broken windows theory” (revisited by Gladwell (October, 2013)). Currently, this theory is being revisited (Gladwell) and, to some extent, surpassed through new insights. Taylor & Kahn (2014) report that over two years following the introduction of a new scheme to increase financial and incarceration penalties for repeat graffiti offending in Australia, there was no significant reduction in the incidences of graffiti offending. Such findings demand new analysis, dialogue and innovation around approaches that could help streamline effort, resources and efficacy related to graffiti responses. Multiple and different publics are also indicated the increased value of certain kinds of illegal graffiti related practice, some of which are now seen to “regenerate” rather than simply to “degenerate” (Young, 2014; Iveson, 2007).

Project Objectives

Graffolution will work to deliver an extensive set of “Collaborative Tools and Resources” that would include (a) a secure space for duty holders, with case studies and other methods of evidencing successful practice, to empower city administrations, public transport services and law enforcement agencies to share knowledge and more widely promote best practices. Additionally, Graffolution will develop (b) an interactive “Open Information Hub” addressing local communities, citizens and graffiti writers to strengthen public awareness and enforce the prevention of illegal spraying activities, using effective tools and visualisations. Social media channels will also be integrated to reach young people, graffiti writers and other connected publics.

Main objectives can be summarized as follows:
  1. Conduct research studies on graffiti vandalism in public areas and transport and identify of relevant stakeholders, roles and processes.
  2. Analyse initiatives, measures, technical methods and best practices against graffiti vandalism in Europe and survey requirements of all affected stakeholders.
  3. Develop concepts and solutions against illegal graffiti and design a web-based awareness and prevention framework for stakeholders and public.
  4. Develop a Collaborative Knowledge Base for local experts and affected stakeholders to improve the exchange of know-how and support decision makers at European level.
  5. Provide an Open Information Hub adopting social media technologies to increase awareness among graffiti writers and citizens by providing information and visualisations.

Information Hub

The Open Information Hub is designed to raise the awareness among citizens and graffiti writers. Comprehensive visualisations on damage will demonstrate how much money is spent on graffiti vandalism prevention methods. The costs will be set in relation to concrete and easy understandable factors (e.g. effect on ticket prices or number of persons that could supplied with food, pharmaceuticals or other important goods and social services). The Open Information Hub also will provide legal alternatives especially for the sprayed scene. Using advanced social media widgets adolescents and young adults will be addressed. The platform will provide information on free walls and connect people who are interested in graffiti art to support creative expression without damaging property of others. Citizens who are heavily affected by illegal graffiti will find useful information on prevention opportunities they can take and important contacts they can refer to if they become victims of graffiti vandalism. The Open Information Hub shall increase the awareness on the issue but also seeks to include graffiti writers in local communities to find appropriate ways that create more liveable environments for all citizens. With the Collaborative Knowledge Base on the one side and an Open Information Hub on the other side, the Graffolution platform takes a holistic approach:

  1. in addressing graffiti from both perspectives, either as art form or as illegal vandalism, depending inter alia on their occurrence, position, message and contents
  2. and in involving a broad range of graffiti prevention stakeholders and target groups concerned with the issue, such as city administrations, public transport services, law enforcement agencies, graffiti experts, affected citizens and neighbourhoods as well as graffiti writers.

Knowledge Base

The Collaborative Knowledge Base is a virtual meeting point for all stakeholders and experts in the field of graffiti vandalism prevention. Persons with relevant positions at city administrations, public transport services, law enforcement agencies and experts of other organisations can enter the Collaborative Knowledge Base which offers them multiple functionalities. They can search for other local, national or pan-European stakeholders to get in contact and collaborate in further projects. A core element of the Collaborative Knowledge Base is the Measure and Case Library which is built up on best practices. Concrete descriptions of measures will allow stakeholders to identify more options they have to prevent graffiti vandalism. These best practices can be permanently updated by the stakeholders and should lead to improved graffiti prevention strategies based on proven knowledge of other stakeholders in Europe. Besides the best practices the stakeholders will be able to share data such as recent offence statistics and documents (e.g. reports and policy briefs). This data can be of utmost importance to assess the current situation of graffiti vandalism, find appropriate partners and develop efficient new measures. A news board serves as a simple communication tool to briefly inform all other stakeholders on new developments. Due to the fact that most stakeholders who operate against graffiti vandalism have very limited resources (time, money, staff, equipment etc.) the whole platform is designed as a low cost system which is easy to use and designed along the requirements of the relevant stakeholders and experts.

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