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Graffiti has been a historically very controversial subject. As Olga mentioned, this is an aesthetic expression that is strongly linked to counterculture and social criticism, where its creators see an opportunity to communicate a message or protest, using pictorial language which seeks to generate an impact on their audience (Peršak & Di Ronco, 2018)

As my colleague mentions, classifying graffiti as art or vandalism is a debate of eternal discussion. In the first place, it depends on the place and society in which it is located. While there are countries where graffiti is considered a crime with serious penalties, in most of western societies there is generally a greater tolerance for this type of expression. This, however, does not mean that it is a fully accepted fact, since in most countries, using public or private buildings to make graffiti is still considered as antisocial behavior (Kordic, 2015).

Image 1. Critic to the removal of graffiti.

However, in the same way that squares and public places must be places that guarantee the freedom of citizen expression, graffiti also needs to have spaces that allow its manifestation. It is therefore necessary to find a point of balance in which the expression of graffiti is allowed without implying the vandalization of public or private goods. Cities like Berlin show this, taking advantage of graffiti as an opportunity to give greater characterization and iconicity to buildings and urban spaces that were in the process of deterioration.

Image 2. Graffiti in Berlin

Berlin Street Art (2016). Berlin street art history – where graffiti found home. Available at:

Kordic, Angie (2015). Is Graffiti Art or Vandalism? Questions of Art, Advertising and Public Space. Available at:

Peršak, N., & Di Ronco, A. (2018). Urban space and the social control of incivilities: Perceptions of space influencing the regulation of anti-social behaviour. Crime, Law and Social Change, 69(3), 329-347.

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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

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