UPDATE: There is an incredible video presentation of the three locations. We recommend you skip to the 3:05 mark for the ultimate "What the hell?" moment.
City Council will hear some new legislation today that would allow for the installation of three Urban Experiential Displays within Center City. While they may seem like elaborate digital billboards, requiring a $10M investment in public space, they're not. At least that's what Thaddeus Bartkowskil of Catalyst Outdoor is saying about these guys. He tells the Philadelphia Business Journal, UEDs are the "convergence of art, architecture and advertising into a singular use." There were originally supposed to be seven installed within a special district in Center City. However, that's now been whittled down to three, rather unsurprising, locations.
So far, it looks like the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Reading Terminal Market and a parking garage next to The Bellevue on South Broad Street are the front runners for the initial UEDs. Let's just hope they don't end up looking like this one:
According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Catalyst (or another company) can't just plop an odd-ball hand holding a globe outside Reading Terminal Market all willy-nilly.
"With the UEDs, a company, such as Catalyst, would have to go through the city's planning approval process as well as the art commission before installing a display. It would have to adhere to a strict series of guidelines on content and other aesthetics. It would also be required to maintain the units and make a financial commitment to a designated non-profit neighborhood organization where the unit is installed."
Well that's at least a minor relief. So, how do they differentiate from digital billboards exactly? Here's what Bartkowski told PBJ back in April, when UEDs first hit the scene:
"Advertising accounts for 97 percent of the information put on digital billboards and the remainder is public service announcements, according to Bartkowski. By comparison, a variety of sources would generate information on these electronic displays. The breakdown would be: 8 percent from local non-profits; 8 percent from Philadelphia; 11 percent original content; 3 percent public service announcements; and 70 percent in advertising."
Are you looking forward to these UEDs to make their way to the streets of Philadelphia? Have your say in the comments!
· Digital display legislation to go before City Council [Philadelphia Business Journal]
· So, You Want to Put a Digital Sign atop the Lit Brothers, eh? [Curbed Philly]
· Bill could permit three-dimensional digital advertisements on Center City sidewalks [PlanPhilly]