Groups in the Adfree Cities network have a shared vision (why we are here) and values (the core principles that guide us, who we are and how we work together).
We want happier, healthier cities free from the pressures of corporate outdoor advertising. Consumerism drives climate and ecological breakdown, harms wellbeing and undermines local resilience. Together we will empower communities to create alternatives. Our movement will keep big brand advertising out of public places. We will make space for what we need to thrive: community connection, solidarity, public art and nature.
We build grassroots power
We know that creating happy, healthy streets won’t ‘just happen’- we have to do the work to build them. We share skills, information and knowledge so that we can collectively take on this challenge. We train new organisers and work with existing groups in our neighbourhoods, towns and cities. By building a grassroots network, we’re building power to create cities free from the pressures of corporate outdoor advertising.
We value community
We value, celebrate and fight for community ownership of public space, giving people the ability to shape our neighbourhoods and homes. Corporate outdoor advertising promotes big business brands; in contrast, we value the uniqueness of communities. Building relationships is at the heart of our organising, and we work closely within our local areas and with groups to share resources and grow our movement.
This is about justice
We see the fight against billboards as part of a wider struggle for social, ecological and economic justice. We take an intersectional approach to our organising, which means understanding that some communities are impacted more by advertising due to issues of class, disability, race, gender and the environmental conditions of different neighbourhoods among other factors. Within our groups, we work to unpack the ways power and oppression show up.
We are creative
Advertising shapes our dreams, our desires and our aspirations – but it shapes them to sell us more stuff we don’t need. We want to create alternatives beyond consumerism. We use playful, imaginative and artistic tactics to challenge the ad industry’s takeover of our streets and our imagination. We campaign for public spaces to be used for community connection, solidarity, public art and rewilded green spaces. We are open to learning, problem-solving, and trying new approaches.
We are part of a movement
While corporate advertising thrives on misinformation, we aren’t afraid to speak truth to power. We seek to create open conversations about the impacts of consumerism, advertising and injustice. In our network we want to build accessible, participatory spaces where people can come together to learn and take action. Although it is not the focus of our work, we recognise the role of creative direct action such as ‘subvertising’ in creating social change and we stand in solidarity with the wider subvertising and anti-advertising movement.