Abstract

This essay examines the relations between the environment and human-made communications, and their significance to the aesthetic life of a given people. The report considers Nigerian sign-writers, who are indigenous local advertising practitioners trained under a traditional Nigerian apprenticeship system. A pilot study of signwriters’ signs in the city of Port Harcourt was conducted to further examine and problematize this form of communication. The results of this study suggest that pollution in an oil and gas city such as Port Harcourt cannot be limited only to pollutants such as noise, oil spills, urban blight, gas flares, and plumes of smoke (which were excluded from this study). Rather, the visual communication systems created by Nigerian sign-writers have also been identified and classified as environmental visual pollution in Port Harcourt. It is argued here that specific abuses by this form of visual pollution degrade environmental visual order. The essay concludes that, in order to remediate the current tend toward visual pollution in Port Harcourt, environmental design educators should work with and educate cultural planners, city planners, architects, and engineers to enhance the visual aesthetic quality of the built environment in Nigerian cities.

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