No single work in Leake Street stands out for too long, and none can claim territorial exclusivity for more than a few consecutive days before it gets crossed-over, or becomes the collateral victim of a freshly painted graffscape. In this equation of high-frequency activity, the way things look comes to matter less and less, as there is no time to grieve over a skillful piece or protect a hard-laboured picture. Leake Street shows that it is not the aesthetics of image production, but the collective action of producing images, that makes a difference for the quality of urban spaces. This difference was demonstrated in hard measurements such as the drop in crime and anti-social activity, but it significantly affects softer frequencies such as involvement, participation and sense of ownership and connection. These will never be accomplished by adding more pristine murals to a place, but by allowing people to transform and leave their imprint on it. It is the difference between permanently-becoming creative, and maintaining a forged recipe for creativity by designing out participation and excluding transformative involvement.
Would you go in, then? And what would it take to make you appreciate the qualities of such a space, if not its complete exposure of plurality and inclusivity? The alternatives should make us suspicious and alert.