Billboards have been controversial in the US for a long time. Lady Bird Johnson, wife of former president Lyndon Johnson campaigned to have every one of them taken down. Her resulting Beautification Campaign was narrowly passed into law. It saw the end to many billboards. Only those boards in business and commercial sectors were allowed to remain.
A new way to imagine billboards is to think of them as homes. Design Develop, an architectural firm in Slovakia, has launched a project named Gregory. Its goal is to build small two room homes to house the homeless inside each billboard. In addition to a living area accessed through the bottom of the raised structure, there’s a platform bed, small desk and bathroom. The designs are smart and look beautiful. Homes get their electricity from the already electrified signage. These small houses will also gain partial operating funds by selling messages on their sides in a traditional billboard manner.
The billboard shelters promote communications and give the industry a modern, more human face. There’s plenty of goodwill to be earned by building even a just a few in cities across the country.