The French city of Grenoble is banning billboard advertising. It will instead open community spaces and plant trees.
City authorities say they have decided not to renew its contract with one of the world’s top outdoor advertising companies, JC Decaux.
From January Grenoble will remove more than 300 ad locations. Fifty trees will take their place in time for spring.
The city’s deputy mayor Lucile Lheureux explained: “The business model of street advertising is down. Advertisers want to upgrade to digital screens. We don’t want to make that move. We don’t want our city’s children bombarded with animated advertising on TV screens in the street.”
Last year, Forbes magazine recognised Grenoble as one of the world’s most innovative cities.
The disappearing ad project was an election campaign promise by the mayor and is being welcomed by many locals.
“We’re invaded by the stuff,” said one man. “It’s such a relief to wander around other cities that don’t have any.”
A handful of villages have already banned ads, but this is a European first for a big city.