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City Mulls Electronic Billboard Plan But Council Skeptical of Big Picture

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Jakarta BillboardThe city’s administration is currently considering plans to do away with unsightly billboards and to only allow digital displays integrated into office buildings, an official said on Tuesday.

The city’s architecture review team from the building monitoring and control agency (P2B) suggested that digital billboards with large electronic displays and moving images be used throughout the central business district.

The electronic billboards should also be fixed to buildings so as not to waste space, as the metal framework of more traditional commercial billboards currently do, agency head Hari Sasongko said.

The review team said that advertisement billboards were an eyesore that detracted from the overall look of Jakarta’s skyline.

“The team said the architecture of the buildings, aimed at making the city more attractive, had now been covered up by tall billboards,” Hari said.

A recommendation for the adoption of electronic billboards, he said, would be put forward with new regional regulations currently being discussed by the city’s administration.

If the regulation is approved, the new displays would be first rolled out along the main Jalan Sudirman and Jalan MH Thamrin thoroughfares.

Hari said that P2B would ask new buildings to integrate the digital billboards into their design.

Meanwhile, the City Council has opposed the idea of having more large electronic displays showing advertisements along Jakarta’s main roads.

Sayogo Hendrosubroto, head of City Council commission D, which oversees public works, said that permits for buildings and billboards were different and could not be planned as one.

“[The electronic billboards] are such a waste of electricity, while we still lack power,” Sayogo said. “If the priority is for commercials, then that’s not appropriate.”

He said that the idea contradicted the city administration’s energy-saving program, and that electronic media was too expensive not only because of the electricity it consumed, but also because components were still largely imported.

“That could bring losses for the state and also the foreign exchange reserves,” Sayogo said.

He urged the P2B to investigate the idea first, saying that the agency should not be swayed by the study conducted by the city architecture review team.

He said that the council did not want to rule out traditional billboards and, to preserve esthetics, the city could control the height of billboards so as not to obscure the view of buildings.

Sayogo also warned that the city administration should not be persuaded by billboard entrepreneurs when condsidering the contentious issue.

The proposed change to outdoor billboards came about because of a lack of regulations regarding their placement. Lax safety requirements have also been blamed for the collapse of huge billboard structures during heavy winds and rain.


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