By now we’ve all heard of the You Are Beautiful graffiti campaign in Birmingham, inspired by the Chicago-based art outfit You Are Beautiful. The Downtown Bromberg’s store (ironically no longer used as a retail outlet) is one of the few downtown retailers still actively doing thoughtful, catchy window displays; the above nighttime view shows how the graffiti campaign has caught on in a sort of meta-advertising theme.
A stroll at night through downtown even 40 years ago meant lit storefront after storefront, advertising wares in a visually appealing and constantly changing way: window-shopping. This unsung but crucial aspect of urban life–part of the common “fabric” of a street vs. the more iconic “object” buildings–is the subject of a great essay (in Black & White) by one of the authors of The Heaviest Corner, an excellent local blog on urbanism. It’s worth a read.