Why here and not there? A GIS approach to graffiti
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Graffiti is art, graffiti is crime, graffiti is beautiful, graffiti is ugly, graffiti is political, graffiti is style, graffiti is an ASBO, graffiti is Banksy. Regardless of where you sit in any debate on the value of graffiti, there is always one indelible truth: it exists. And to exist it must exist somewhere. It is in the study of this ‘where’ that we hope to learn something about the essence of these scribbles on walls. We ask: why is graffiti in this place and not in that place? We do this by taking a GIS approach to the question, in which we collect graffiti, digitise graffiti, analyse graffiti and visualise graffiti. We find that the physical factors which define the location of graffiti in the city centre are, for the most part, limited to perfunctory city constructs such as crossing guards, phone boxes and electricity boxes but that every now and again, city features come together in such a way as to create the opportunity for clusters of graffiti to exist. However, it is necessary that we not only locate graffiti in space, we also need to locate it within the motivations of the subculture to which it belongs. In the end we find graffiti to be a duel construct, made up of the desires of a global subculture and how the city allows these desires to be made manifest.